Statement from Achieving the Dream President William E. Trueheart on Release of the New MDRC Report

Media Contact:
Lauren Lewis, (917) 613-6419,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    

Silver Spring, MD (April 29, 2014) – Today our partner, MDRC, released the report, Moving Forward with Institutional Change: Lessons from the First Round of Achieving the Dream Community Colleges. The report focuses on the 26 community colleges that were first to join the Achieving the Dream initiative, and examines their progress over the initial five years of participation, from 2004 to 2009.  

We want to thank MDRC, our founding investor Lumina Foundation, and the courageous colleges that stepped forward to join ATD. These Round One colleges were truly pioneers. They engaged in bold experiments, expanded their capacity to collect and analyze data, and made fundamental changes to enable more students to succeed. And they began this work at a time when two-year college enrollment was growing rapidly and budgets were declining.

Because of their extraordinary efforts, more people in community colleges are working together to improve student outcomes. The report sums it up this way: “Substantially improving institution-wide student outcomes is much harder than was envisioned at the start of the initiative. There is still much work to be done to improve the prospects of students entering community colleges in the United States, but Achieving the Dream has established a solid foundation and a strong network to embark on that work.”   

Building on this foundation, the next phase of our work is well underway. Guided by ten years of experience, our colleges’ insights, and the findings of MDRC’s report, we are defining strategic priorities to enable colleges in the Achieving the Dream Network to substantially improve student outcomes. These priorities include intensified, targeted support for institutional change; greater emphasis on teaching and learning; more effective use of data; expanded strategic partnerships; and influence on policy and practice.  

In partnership with colleges in the Network, ATD set out to make student success our foremost goal while preserving access to higher education for all students. Over the past decade, we’ve grown from an idea into a national organization with a network of over 200 colleges, 15 state policy teams, and more than 100 coaches and advisors working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia. We look forward to continuing innovation and reform, and leveraging our solid foundation to support more students complete whatever they begin. Our economic future depends on it.

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Press Release Files

StatementonMDRCReport.pdf28.9 KB

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is 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) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 35 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

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