Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a multiyear national initiative to help more community college students succeed. The initiative is particularly concerned about student groups that traditionally have faced significant barriers to success, including students of color and low-income students. Achieving the Dream works on multiple fronts, including efforts at community colleges and in research, public engagement and public policy.
It emphasizes the use of data to drive change. Start-up funding for Achieving the Dream (Atd) was provided by Lumina Foundation for Education, which continues to provide funding for the 27 colleges, in 5 states, which were included in the initiative’s initial launch in 2004 as well as for other elements of the initiative’s work. A second round of 8 colleges joined in 2005 with funding from Knowledge Works Foundation and Nellie Mae Education Foundation. In July, 2006, 23 additional institutions were added to the initiative with funding being provided by The Heinz Endowments, Houston Endowment Inc. and College Spark Washington. So, at this time there are 58 institutions involved in the initiative, from 9 states, including 3 four-year institutions.
El Paso Community College was in the first cohort of community colleges to participate in the Achieving the Dream initiative. Our involvement began with a proposal for a $50,000 1-year planning grant and later with a proposal for an implementation grant of $400,000 over a 4-year period.