Achieving the Dream


  • Achieving the Dream National Reform Network
    Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, Achieving the Dream now leads the most comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success in higher education history. Together with our Network of over 200 institutions of higher education, 100 coaches and advisors, 15 state policy teams, and numerous investors and partners working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia we are helping nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

    Austin Community College District has earned the Achieving the Dream's Leader College designation for improving fall to spring persistence rates for students across all ethnic and socioeconomic groups over the past three years. The March 2013 Longitudinal Tracking report provides an analysis of student outcomes on five key metrics for first-time-in-college (FTIC) students beginning at Austin Community College in the fall semester (2007 through 2012). The report presents a synopsis of student background characteristics for each cohort and then compares student outcomes for each metric by ethnicity, gender, Pell status, and age. The goal is to illuminate areas for improvement, encourage courageous conversations, and improve student outcomes for all students. The April 2014 report was just published.

    The college is one of eight to receive the 2013 Leader College recognition, and one of only 81 Leader Colleges nationwide. As a Leader College, ACC will continue to help other member colleges develop strategies for increasing student persistence, retention, and completion rates.

    A national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by
  1. improving results at institutions,
  2. influencing public policy,
  3. generating knowledge, and
  4. engaging the public.
  • Achieving the Dream Developmental Educational Initiative
  • Achieving the Dream Implementation Proposal (Austin Community College, 2010)
  • Turning The Tide: Five Years of Achieving the Dream in Community Colleges
    In 2004, Lumina Foundation for Education launched “Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count,” a national initiative aimed at improving success among community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color. Now encompassing more than 130 institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia, Achieving the Dream helps community colleges build a “culture of evidence” by using student records and other data to examine students’ performance over time and to identify barriers to academic progress. From there, community colleges are expected to develop intervention strategies designed to improve student outcomes; conduct further research on student progress; and bring effective programs to scale. As a result, it is anticipated that colleges will see measurable improvements over time in student outcomes, including increased progress through developmental education and college-level “gatekeeper” (introductory) courses, grades, persistence, and completion of credentials.
  • Field Guide for Improving Student Success 
    This guide provides an overview of Achieving the Dream’s institutional improvement framework for increasing student success. It includes examples of what Achieving the Dream institutions have done to transform themselves into more effective institutions. The guide is designed for college leaders who are considering having their colleges join Achieving the Dream, and thus making the necessary commitment to change college policies and practices in ways that enhance student success on a substantial scale.
  • 2014 Achieving the Dream Site Visit PowerPoint Presentation (April 25, 2014)
  • 2014 Achieving the Dream Site Visit PowerPoint Presentation, Degree Map (April 25, 2014)
  • 2013 Leader College Application
  • 2010 Implementation Proposal

Annual Reflections