Reports & White Papers

ACCT continues to publish time-sensitive reports and white papers that cover issues about which trustees need to know.  These publications are available in print to ACCT members and can be downloaded electronically on this page.  



Lost in the Trillion: A Three-State Comparison of Community College Borrowing and Default (2017)

lost in the trillionLost in the Trillion: A Three-State Comparison of Community College Borrowing and Default reveals surprising similarities, with some notable differences, in how community college students use federal debt repayment interventions. The report also expands the analyses performed in prior research by adding an examination of borrowers' incomes.









hungryHungry and Homeless in College: Results from a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education (2017)

Hungry and Homeless in College, a new research report that assesses food and housing insecurity among community college students details results of a survey of more than 33,000 students at 70 community colleges in 24 states--the broadest survey of its kind--that describes the extent to which students are adversely affected by unmet basic needs while pursuing higher education.







Financial Aid 102: An Updated Guide to Understanding Federal Financial Aid Programs for Community College Leaders and Trustees (2017)

This guide offers an update to our 2011 guide, Financial Aid 101, providing detailed explanations of a variety of aid programs, including changes to programs and information on programs that have emerged as important alternate sources of aid for community college students. We also present information that is particularly important to institutional leaders looking to advocate for their students and colleges, and offer recommendations on how they can effectively approach this important work.







Aiding Success: The Role of Federal and State Financial Aid in Supporting California's Community Colleges (2017)

aiding successAiding Success: The Role of Federal and State Financial Aid in Supporting California Community College Students documents the variation in student graduation and transfer rates by students' financial situation. The authors of Aiding Success analyzed detailed financial aid and student success data from the CCCCO system that underlie the Student Success Scorecard, an online consumer information tool. The data tracks 184,705 first-time students from the 2009-10 school year through 2014-15. The report includes federal, state, and college-level policy recommendations to better support community college students' abilities to persist and complete degrees or certificates, or to transfer to four-year institutions.








Learning While Earning, How Low Income Working Learners Differ From All Other American College Students (2017)

learning while earningResearchers from the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, Anthony Carnevale and Nicole Smith, examine the challenges working students face and the impacts of these challenges on completion and debt. Working and paying tuition and fees “as you go” is no longer an option for the majority of America’s college students; however, community colleges and public four-year colleges may still facilitate a pay-as-you-go option. Students pursuing postsecondary credentials and/or wishing to attain the skills necessary to land a good job need support from career counselors to understand their options and the economic value of their selected major.






Putting Students First, Are Associate Degrees Preparing Graduates For Successful Careers? (2017)

putting students firstSenior Economist Jonathan Rothwell of Gallup, presents data on employment outcomes for college graduates from different types of colleges. He also provides findings from the Gallup-USA Funds Associate Degree Graduates Survey which shows there are a number of student experiences that are highly predictive of overall life-evaluation. He cites the factors that contribute to a positive high life evaluation, noting that approximately 46 percent of Associate degree earners reported their college education was worth the cost. He concludes that with rising college costs students need to be better informed about the potential outcomes of their investment.







The Family-Friendly Campus Imperative, Supporting Success Among Community College Students with Children (2017)

Researchers Barbara Gault, Elizabeth Noll, and Lindsey Reichlin, from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (DC), assess the unique needs of community college students who are also parents. The majority of students with children attend community college. Single parents, the majority of whom are mothers, are more likely to work fulltime and spend 35 hours a week or more on caregiving. The time demands of caregiving make child care options vital to staying in college and graduating. Attaining a higher degree or credential is critical to finding a quality job with sustaining wages. With the increasing numbers of community college student parents appearing on college campuses, policymakers should consider how best to meet the needs of these students now and for future generations.






Return on Investment, What is the Value of the Associate Degree? (2017)

value of assoc degreeReturn on Investment, What is the Value of the Associate Degree? provides a checklist of high-impact practices that colleges can employ to support students on their journey to degree completion and potentially improved employment outcomes. Mark Schneider, vice president and institute fellow, American Institutes for Research (DC), compares subbaccalaureate credentials with baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees. In 2014, there were 100,000 more sub-baccalaureate degrees or credentials awarded than bachelor’s degrees. Schneider shows that majors matter, and specific degrees offer the potential of high earnings, particularly in fields where graduates will “fix things or people.” Community colleges can help students achieve labor market success by developing strong pipelines from college to the workplace.






Too Distressed to Learn?: Mental Health Among Community College Students (2016)

distressed coverToo Distressed to Learn? assesses mental health among community college students. Authors Daniel Eisenberg, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Sarah Ketchen Lipson, and Katharine Broton conducted a survey of more than 4,000 students at 10 community colleges in California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin and Wyoming that underscores the need for greater mental health services for students. According to the report, almost 50 percent of students surveyed had a current or recent mental health condition.







Seizing the Moment: Community Colleges Collaborating with K-12 to Improve Student Success (2016)

seize momentSeizing the Moment calls on community college presidents and trustees to embrace the higher standards many K-12 school systems have adopted and implement strategies to increase college readiness and success. The report profiles proven programs that effectively advance student success throughout the country, including a broad array of models that range from providing remedial education and enabling students to earn college degrees while still in high school to aligning academic expectations from high school to college, using early assessments to increase readiness and success, customizing developmental education to meet students’ needs, and more.


The Progress of Latinos in Higher Education (2016)

naleoThe Progress of Lationos in Higher Education profiles Latino community college students, including associate's degree attainment rates, which are unsettling: only 23 percent of adult Latino students (25 and older) attain associate's degrees, compared to 33 percent of black students, 46 of white students, and 59 percent of Asian students. The paper discusses promising programs that have proven to advance student success, and which can be scaled nationally.







hungryHungry to Learn: Addressing Food and Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates (2016)

Hungry to Learn shines a glaring spotlight on the real rates of food and housing insecurity among community college students and describes changes that community colleges and federal and state policymakers can implement to improve food and housing security so that students can persist in their studies through to the successful completion of a college degree.





trillionA Closer Look at the Trillion: Borrowing, Repayment and Default at Iowa's Community Colleges (September 2015)

A Closer Look at the Trillion: Borrowing, Repayment and Default at Iowa's Community Colleges, takes an unprecedented look at community college student borrowing and repayment behavior. The report uses data from all 16 community colleges in Iowa to examine the characteristics of borrowers and defaulters to help colleges and policymakers better understand and prevent default.


Protecting Colleges and Students: Community College Strategies to Prevent Default

Protecting Colleges and Students, released by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), takes a unique look at student loan default at nine community colleges across the nation, and how those colleges are working to help students avoid default.  Read more.






Financial Aid 101: A Guide to Understanding Federal Financial Aid Programs for Community College Trustees and Leaders  Financial Aid 101

Federal financial aid serves as a crucial tool to support both access and success for students in higher education.  This is especially true at community colleges.  Whether they are seeking job training, a certificate, or an associate degree, our students rely on consistent and meaningful sources of support to advance their educational aspirations.  This report is designed to help community college trustees and leaders understand the broad structure and design of the largest federal financial aid programs, including grants, loans, and tax credits.  Read more or download the report (PDF).







Clearing the Path to a Brighter Future: Addressing Barriers to Community College Access and Success.Clearing the Path

On June 10, 2013, ACCT in partnership with Single Stop USA released this new white paper to redefine how participating students approach student support services.  Case studies from the City University of New York (CUNY) and Miami Dade College (MDC) campuses are featured in the white paper.  ACCT and Single Stop convened an event on Capitol Hill to announce the release of the paper, the video of which is below.  The white paper can be downloaded at no cost here.








Public Community College Governing Boards: Structure and CompositionStructure and Composition

Edited by ACCT Staff (2014)
$10 (member); $12 (non-member), available for purchase here.

 A must-read report for anyone researching the structure and composition of public community and technical college governing boards.  A small sample of findings: 

  • 36 states have local community or technical college governing or advisory boards.
  • in 11 states, the community and technical colleges are solely governed by a statewide governing or coordinating board.  Of these, four are exclusively community college statewide boards and seven are statewide higher education boards whose scopes extend beyond community colleges.
  • 25 states have a state-level community college governing board.  In 15 states, the board has governance oversight for community and/or technical colleges, while in seven states the board has a coordinating responsibility and in three states the board has an advisory role.

The report details individual findings for each state, along with overviews of structures and compositions.