April 18, 2023
At a Glance
This national network scales proven practices to help more than 4.5 million students earn credentials that lead to well paying jobs. Nearly half of U.S. community colleges are connected to the Student Success Center Network.
The Student Success Center Network is dedicated to advancing economic mobility and racial justice by dramatically and equitably increasing the number of students earning postsecondary credentials with value in the labor market.
Managed by JFF since 2012, the SSCN partners with nearly half of all community colleges in the United States to develop, implement, and scale student success strategies. Each of the 17 statewide Student Success Centers (SSC) works with community colleges in their state to increase student completion rates, close equity gaps, and strengthen communities.
Through their participation in the SSCN, Centers have access to relationships, knowledge, expertise, resources, and platforms for innovation and influence that they use to support colleges and students in their states and shape postsecondary education nationally.
Centers benefit from:
— Peer learning and support
— National Convenings and Expertise
— Technical assistance
— Strategic advising
- All 17 Centers lead implementation of learner-centered pathways grounded in industry demand and academic rigor while also addressing barriers to access and completion. JFF’s new Guided Career Pathways framework offers a structure for organizing these pathways reforms. Guided Career Pathways builds on the Guided Pathways movement, which established a strong model for institutional redesign across four goals, or “pillars”: Clarify paths to student end goals, Help students choose and enter a pathway, Help students stay on that path, and Ensure that students are learning.
- In 2017, the Network introduced the SSCN Institutional Coaching Program to help Centers expand their capacity to engage community colleges in institutional transformation by providing strategic guidance and training to college administrators, faculty, and staff. In the most recent phase of work, supported by Ascendium Education Group and involving 72 colleges and 69 coaches, JFF and Community College Research Initiatives (CCRI) engaged with grantee Centers in four states—California, Michigan, New York, and Oregon—to build the evidence base around institutional coaching. This brief summarizes what we learned from Center leadership, college administrators and staff members, and the coaches themselves. The SSC Network Coaching Toolbox captures a variety of resources for Centers, colleges, and coaches to use in planning and implementation of a coaching program, such as equity strategies and training for coaches.
- JFF partnered with the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice to accelerate the delivery of emergency aid and other supports for community college students affected by the pandemic and financial crisis. Working with the Centers in California, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, and Texas, this collaboration continued to focus on scaling specific strategies to address student basic needs insecurity.
If we were not part of the Student Success Center Network (SSCN), our community colleges would not be engaged in the transformational change currently underway. The networking with peers, sharing of resources, lessons learned, contacts with national experts, and general support of the SSCN have made all the difference. Plainly speaking, Oregon would not be where we are today without our participation in the SSCN.Elizabeth Cox Brand, Executive Director, Oregon Student Success Center
Student Success Centers are leaders in state-level transformational change that drive postsecondary reform for both their states and nationwide. Centers deliver expert guidance to community colleges to lead the implementation of large-scale student success reforms and collectively meet completion goals. They create a coherent, statewide framework for action—a lens through which community colleges evaluate, align, and integrate their work in various student success initiatives.
[Student Success Centers] have sought to support adoption of Guided Pathways by hosting institutes, workshops, and other training along with coaching from practitioners who have experience implementing Guided Pathways at their colleges. This has proven to be an effective mechanism for spreading Guided Pathways, because these entities provide support for adoption to all colleges in their systems, including small rural colleges and others that have limited resources for training and outside technical assistance.Community College Research Center (2021) “Investing in Student Success at Community Colleges: Lessons From Research on Guided Pathways"
Get Involved With the SSCN
To increase its reach and impact, the Network is constantly growing and evolving to serve more states, institutions, students, and communities. We hope that you’ll join us on this journey.