Topic: Postsecondary Success and College Completion


Postsecondary Student Success
College Completion

Creating jobs is a top priority in Southern states, and a better-educated workforce is an important strategy. Helping states with policy and practice to improve postsecondary student success is central to SREB’s mission. 

Student success = increasing access and completion for postsecondary credentials that lead to successful careers and stronger economies

Publication November 2022 | 24 pages
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Priorities for Raising College Student Success in the South
Report of the SREB Student Success Advisory Council

The report of SREB’s Student Success Advisory Council offers 10 recommendations to improve the success of students in postsecondary education, particularly those from demographic groups that have been underrepresented in higher education historically. After examining the challenges of affording college, navigating and persisting to graduation, and beginning a career, the report outlines specific ideas for both states and postsecondary institutions.

Publication June 2022 | 7 pages

Higher Education Return on Investment for Students, Families and Society

With mounting focus on the return on investing in a college degree, this brief shows how the benefits outweigh the costs to individuals, communities and society. A postsecondary credential remains a profitable investment for individuals, who in general earn more and are less likely to be unemployed, as well as for economies that need a highly skilled workforce and residents who contribute to society. 


Publication September 20216 pages

Why Focus on Underserved Students

SREB’s vision for the South is that every student has access to high-quality education. At the postsecondary level that entails increasing access to college and raising completion rates for valuable postsecondary credentials. This report shows why it is critical for states to focus on increasing student success for Black, Latino and American Indian students, as well as those from low-income families or rural areas and those who would be the first in their families to attend college. 


Publication October 202110 pages

SREB’s Strategy to Increase Success for Underserved Student Populations

Since its founding, SREB has focused on postsecondary attainment as a means for improving the social and economic vitality of the South. Today, SREB remains committed to increasing college access and completion rates, with an emphasis on groups that have been historically underserved by higher education. This report outlines SREB strategies to increase student success for Black, Hispanic and Native American students, rural students, and those who come from low-income families or would be the first in their families to attend college.


Publication June 202034 pages

Dual Enrollment Research
A Comprehensive Review

Part of the ongoing work of SREB’s Dual Enrollment Initiative, this comprehensive review is intended to help policymakers better understand what the research tells us (and what it doesn’t) about dual enrollment. The research analyzes more than 500 journal articles, master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, web documents and books from 1959 to 2019.



Publication September 2019 | 8 pages
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Workforce-Driven Financial Aid: Policies and Strategies
Essential Elements of State Policy For College Completion

The rapidly evolving workplace has created a shortage of skilled and educated workers in many fields, leaving essential jobs unfilled and millions of adults unqualified for them. This policy brief summarizes statewide strategies to support financial assistance for students in programs designed to address workforce needs. It includes suggestions for states that are evaluating, or considering creating, workforce-driven financial aid policies.



Postsecondary Attainment Goals
in SREB States

State 2019
Attainment Level
Goal By
Alabama 45.1% Add 500,000 high-skilled employees  2025
Arkansas 43.6% 60% 2025
Delaware 47.9% none none
Florida 52.8% 55% 2025
Georgia 52.8% 60% 2025
Kentucky 49.4% 60% 2030
Louisiana 48.1% 60% 2030
Maryland 55.9% 55% 2025
Mississippi 44.4% Reach the national attainment level average 2025
North Carolina 52.1% Ensure that 2 million, age 25 to 44, have earned a postsecondary degree or credential 2030
Oklahoma 46.5% 70% 2025
South Carolina 47.6% 60% 2025
Tennessee 46.8% 55% 2025
Texas 47.9% 60% of adults ages 25-34 2030
Virginia 57.4% 70% 2030
West Virginia 42.6% 60% 2030

Publication February 201545 pages(15C02)
Report cover: Community Colleges in the South

Community Colleges in the South: Strengthening Readiness and Pathways
Report of the SREB Commission on Community Colleges

The full report of SREB’s Community College Commission offers 21 recommendations for states and community colleges. It presents findings on readiness, placement, math standards and structurally guided pathways to help students clearly see entry, exit and re-entry points to continue their education. Recommendations ask states to commit increased funding and hold colleges accountable for improving student services and completion. The goal: increase college access and success so more students earn postsecondary credentials and enter careers in demand in their communities.