June 21, 2019

Washington, DC—Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), introduced the Time to Completion Act of 2019, legislation that will provide information that is essential for students and families to better evaluate the performance of colleges and universities. Specifically, the bill extends the graduation rate benchmark requirements under the Higher Education Act (HEA) to better reflect community college success.

“While representing the youngest congressional district, I am constantly seeking ways to improve educational opportunities for students,” said Curtis. “I am proud to partner with my colleague, Congresswoman Fudge, to introduce bipartisan legislation that will increase transparency and enable students to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families regarding higher education.”

“It is critical that we understand that many students take the non-traditional path to obtain their degrees,” said Fudge. “Students working while attending classes, part-time students, and students with children face unique challenges that can contribute to longer times for program completion. I am proud to introduce legislation that will properly count every student earning a degree and allow potential enrollees to make more informed decisions when choosing an institution of higher learning.” 

Statements of Support

The Time to Completion Act has been endorsed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and other organizations.

Deneece G. Huftalin, President, Salt Lake Community College.

“Salt Lake Community College and community colleges across the nation play a critical role in providing opportunities for students to succeed in their educational pursuits. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of community college students who earn certificates or degrees are classified as “drop-outs” because they don’t complete their studies in the timeframe currently prescribed by the federal government, a timeframe that doesn’t take into consideration that the majority of community college students attend part-time and as a result take longer to graduate. We join community colleges in applauding and thanking Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Congressman John Curtis for their leadership on this important issue. The Time to Completion Act will ensure that the millions of community college students who graduate with certificates or degrees are appropriately recognized by the federal government as college completers.”

Background

The bill extends the graduation rate benchmark to six years or 300% of the “normal time” it takes to complete a higher education program. Increasing the graduation rate benchmark will provide information that is essential for students, families, and policymakers to better evaluate the performance of colleges and universities by:

  • Improving federal graduation rate measurements to better reflect community college success;
  • Enabling prospective students to better assess their likelihood of finishing community college programs;
  • Retaining key existing measurements and allowing relevant comparisons to be made about changes in institutional performance; and
  • Creating a more comprehensive and detailed account of institutional performance than required by the system currently in place. It also rationalizes and streamlines relevant Higher Education Act (HEA) provisions and regulatory practices.

The legislation allows the current, 150%, graduation rate benchmark to be retained, and for a larger window to be employed to capture more community college successes.

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