Going on 15 years, JFF has convened the Postsecondary State Network (PSN) to advance policies and practices that accelerate community college completion and advancement in the labor market.
States in the PSN have participated in several prominent national initiatives to improve student success. As compelling evidence has emerged on what works to help the most students persist and succeed, especially those who are low-income or underserved, the tenor of these initiatives has shifted from piloting isolated interventions to designing and implementing unified, connected solutions within and across institutions and systems.
States in the PSN, along with several other postsecondary leaders and policy, research, and advocacy organizations, now embrace guided pathways as a coherent approach to achieving the institutional transformation needed to improve student outcomes. As a founding partner of The Pathways Collaborative, JFF works with other leading organizations to accelerate implementation of guided pathways at hundreds of community colleges in states across the nation.
The PSN is a major hub of activity for scaling guided pathways. JFF provides a comprehensive suite of services, including management tools and templates, to help key state actors create the policy conditions and statewide infrastructure needed for community colleges to implement evidence-based, institution-wide innovations.
Erica Orians, Executive Director, Michigan Center for Student Success
Not only does JFF focus on the things that make a difference, but it's also on the leading edge of doing the things that will.
The twice-yearly convenings of the PSN provide opportunities for peer learning and collaboration among leaders from state systems, institutions, and partner organizations at the cutting edge of the student success movement. Network members share strategies, learn about the latest field research and thought, and work together in developing solutions and navigating change.
States in the PSN have engaged in these previous initiatives:
Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (2004–2010)
JFF was one of the founding national partners of the six-year initiative, launched by Lumina Foundation and supported by close to 20 national and regional funders. The initiative engaged 82 community colleges across 15 states to improve college outcomes of community college students, particularly low-income and students of color. The initiative emphasized institution-wide change and data-driven improvement strategies. Participating states were: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. JFF's partnership with Achieving the Dream (ATD) continues to extend beyond this initiative. Since its founding as an initiative, ATD incorporated as a national nonprofit organization. JFF’s partnership with ATD continues today through the Pathways Collaborative, the Student Success Center Network, and the Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success.
Developmental Education Initiative (2009–2012)
Through initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JFF teamed up with several national partner organizations to work with six states and 15 community colleges to implement innovative reforms to developmental education. JFF developed and advocated for policies to remove barriers to success and accelerate the scale of successful models. Participating states were: Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia.
Completion by Design (2011–2017)
Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JFF worked with community college associations and state systems in three states to significantly increase completion and graduation rates for low-income students under 26 years old. JFF helped state teams identify and implement policies that support college efforts to provide needed structure for the student experience, from initial connection to college through completion or transfer. Participating states were: Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Middle-Skill STEM Pathways (2013–2017)
Supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, JFF and Achieving the Dream helped a cohort of colleges across four states (Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia) strengthen pathways into STEM careers that do not require a four-year degree. In addition, community college systems in seven states with strong Achieving the Dream college participation convened for peer learning opportunities in developing state policy conditions and strategies for accelerating student success and completion in STEM pathways. Participating states were: Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Virginia.