Achieving the Dream to Enhance Coaching Services with $1 Million Great Lakes Grant

Network Colleges to Receive More Customized Support for Reform Efforts to Increase Student Success

(Madison, Wis., September 15, 2016) —During the past 12 years, Achieving the Dream (ATD) has grown to become the nation's largest non-governmental community college reform network, serving more than 200 colleges in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Through coaching and strategic planning services, ATD helps its network colleges build capacity for institutional transformation and implement policies and practices that improve success for all students, especially low-income students and students of color.

With a three-year, $1 million grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, ATD is now prepared for the next generation of reform work. ATD will restructure its coaching model to integrate a new assessment tool, update its coach training and development, and actively seek feedback from colleges evaluating ATD’s services. With these enhancements, ATD will deliver more personalized consulting to help community colleges across the country apply even more impactful reforms so greater numbers of their students earn degrees and credentials.

"The Great Lakes grant will allow for a more strategic and customized deployment of our coaching services, to meet colleges where they are in their reform work," said Karen A. Stout, President and Chief Executive Officer of Achieving the Dream.

ATD guides organizational change based on a comprehensive institutional capacity framework. The latest applied research and more than a decade of experience have informed the evolution of this framework to include seven essential capacities that must be in place for colleges to create and sustain a culture of student success. The areas are: Leadership and Vision, Data and Technology, Equity, Teaching and Learning, Engagement and Communication, Strategy and Planning, and Policies and Practices.

ATD will use the Great Lakes funds to restructure its coach training and development curricula to align with the seven capacities. Leadership and data coaches will focus on each capacity with a customized approach that meets the particular needs of an individual community college. Coaches will help colleges set goals and measure progress, connect to rich resources and subject matter experts, develop priorities and action plans, and leverage and analyze institutional data. ATD also will develop an evaluation process to solicit direct feedback from the colleges on the effectiveness of its new coaching model.

"Great Lakes and Achieving the Dream share a commitment to improving community college retention and completion rates, particularly for traditionally underserved students," said Richard D. George, Great Lakes' President and Chief Executive Officer. "We're pleased to support the evolution of ATD coaching to better serve colleges nationwide that are seeking to close achievement gaps and increase degree attainment."


About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967. Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in post-secondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, we have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers – as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected educational philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed over $160 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low income students, and first-generation students. For additional information,

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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