Project Goals and Alignment
The Finish First NC project is interested in increasing completion rates among curriculum education students, increasing the number of NC adults with credentials beyond high school, and developing measures to help more students complete and attain credentials of value.
Wake Technical Community College received funding from the Lumina Foundation and the John M. Belk Endowment in collaboration with the University of North Carolina System Office and the North Carolina Community College System Office to scale the data tool to all 58 community colleges in the state. The FFNC project has the following performance measures:
- Increase the number of credentials awarded to curriculum education students by 10%;
- Increase the four-year completion rates by 5%;*
- Pilot 15 community colleges by May 2019;
- Identify more than 30,000 non-completers who may receive credentials by May 2019; and
- Demonstrate that at least 50% of the 30,000 identified above are minority students.
* Previously six-year completion rates. Changed to reflect the updated NCCCS measurement of completion rates from six-year to four-year rates.
Additional Desired Outcomes
FFNC seeks to improve labor market outcomes for students, since individuals with postsecondary credentials tend to have better labor market outcomes than those with only a high school diploma. FFNC also seeks to enhance the ability of NC community colleges to develop effective and targeted advising practices.
Finish First NC aligns with Wake Tech’s and the NC Community College System Office’s strategic goals in the following ways:
- Completion: Implementation of the FFNC tool will result in students attaining credentials they have already earned but were not aware of. FFNC provides clear pathways to credentials by informing students that they are within striking distance of completion.
- Transfer: Students who have earned a degree are qualified to transfer to a four-year institution with two years of credit towards a bachelor’s degree.
- Equitable Outcomes: In North Carolina, much like throughout the country, students with some credits but no degree tend to be older, from minority groups, and from economically distressed neighborhoods and counties. Improving access and completion of adult learners will help reduce equity gaps.
- Labor Market & Economic Mobility: Adults with credentials beyond high school earn higher wages. FFNC encourages completing and claiming credentials.
- Student Interest and Access: FFNC equips personnel at NCCCS colleges with information to aid in a more seamless system of education. Advisors are empowered with targeted information to improve the understanding and perceived value of educational opportunities. Improving access and completion of North Carolina students from underserved populations will help reduce equity gaps.
- Clear and Supported Pathways for Student Progress and Success: Implementation of the FFNC tool will result in students attaining credentials they have already earned but were not aware of. FFNC provides clear pathways to credentials by informing students that they are within striking distance of completion, and empowering students and their advisors to make informed decisions.
- Economic and Workforce Impact: FFNC facilitates the attainment of industry-recognized credentials, enabling students to enter the workforce. FFNC outputs of student completion and near completion data provide information for program evaluation and review for workplace relevance.
- System Effectiveness: Using FFNC provides an opportunity to review and improve policies and practices surrounding student completion and advising at both the institution and the System level. The tool promotes informed decision making to enhance system effectiveness. Users also have the opportunity to connect with other college leaders in the NCCCS to collaborate and share best practices.