Project Win-Win

Washington, DC

The Win-Win project is in its third and final year of operation to identify and find (a) former students with no degree who actually qualified to receive an Associate’s degree, and to have those degrees awarded retroactively, and (b) former students with no degree but whose records indicate they are within striking distance (9-12 credits) of an Associate’s, and persuade them to return to school to finish up.  


Sixty-two Associate’s degree-granting institutions (52 community colleges and 10 four-year colleges that award Associate’s degrees) in 9 states (Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin) are involved. Using roughly equivalent sorting parameters, they identified, as the initial universe of interest, 130,000 former students with roughly 60 or more credits, a GPA at or above that required for graduation, no degree from the school, and who had not been seen at the school for at least a year. This group was then matched against state and National Student Clearinghouse records to eliminate those who either had earned degrees elsewhere or who were currently enrolled elsewhere. Those actions reduced the universe of interest to 46,000. The records of all these students were then sent to Degree Audit, the core process of sorting into three bins: degree-eligible, degree-potential, and neither.  As of March 2013, 39,000 Degree Audits had been finalized: 6250 degree-eligibles, 21,500 degree-potentials, and 11,500 neither. 
Of the degree-eligibles, 770 students could not be found, and 2600 degrees have been awarded retroactively. Reasons for non-award are principally found in institutional degree-award policies and procedures.
Work on the degree-potentials is still in progress, and to date, 2800 have not been found, 4600 were missing required math courses, and 600 have returned to school.
Final data (including demographic, transfer, and credit information), along with a narrative of institutional experiences and encounters with snags in the processes of Degree Audit, evaluation, outreach, and contacting, will be presented at an open conference at the Newseum in Washington this summer. Issues will include residency requirements, recency requirements, degree “holds,” course equivalencies, Associate degree types, changing data systems, problems of matching state data, student mobility, the roles and time commitments of registrars, IR, advising, and academic officers, and idiosyncrasies of institutional rules and dispositions. Any institution contemplating a similar effort should have a grasp of these realities.

Expected Outcomes: 
  • 6,000 Associate's degrees awarded by August 2013
  • 20,000 students in line for degree completion with nine or fewer credits to go by August 2013.
Cliff Adelman
Senior Associate


1320 19th St, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
United States