Reports & White Papers

Original research & policy recommendations from ACCT




  • Reskilling for the Pandemic Recession and Recovery focuses on the U.S. economic downturn since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Hispanic individuals, women, and people without a postsecondary degree. Considering these challenges, the brief details policy proposals for large-scale workforce development initiatives and strategies that community colleges can implement to support unemployed and adult learners. 
  • What Works: College Strategies for Reducing Student Loan Default is a follow-up to our 2014 study in partnership with TICAS to examine student loan default at nine community colleges and explore administrative practices aimed at addressing students’ default risks. At each college, we analyzed cohort default rate data and uncovered notable trends and populations at higher risk, identified default-reduction strategies the college was already using, and suggested additional strategies to consider. In 2020, we followed up with these colleges to understand how their strategies had evolved since our analysis.
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A Checklist and Implementation Guide for Community College Boards was created in cooperation with  the associations’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. The release of the guide follows a commitment made by the association to empower community college leaders to make meaningful changes at their institutions in the interests of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. The guide details critical steps community college boards must take in order to implement policy through an equity lens.
  • With over 50% of current college CEOs expected to retire within the next few years, boards are seeking new ways to connect the hiring and onboarding processes to ensure the new CEO’s effectiveness and longevity. The first year often sets the stage for the CEO’s success. 5 Keys to a Successful Transition Year: An ACCT Guide for Community College CEOs and Boards outlines key first-year strategies for the board and new president.
  • Bridging Financial Wellness and Student Success: Effective Models for Community Colleges. Community college students face a number of financial decisions and obligations along the path to degree completion. Students must secure resources to pay for college expenses, including their tuition, fees, and basic living necessities. Central to this is students’ abilities to access financial aid resources including federal, state, and institutional aid. Colleges also play a role in providing clear and timely financial education to ensure students are aware of available resources and have a strong foundation in personal financial management. Existing research on students’ financial wellness typically separates financial aid and financial education approaches. For this report, our aim is to address both categories to offer community colleges strategies for holistic supports.
  • Community college students often hold knowledge from various professional and academic experiences. A challenge for these students, and for their institutions and employers, is how to formally bridge these competencies to support students’ efforts to reach their academic and career goals. Make It Count: Recognizing Prior Learning for Workforce Development looks at the practice of awarding credit for prior learning, known as prior learning assessments (PLA), as part of community colleges’ workforce development strategies.


  • The College-Work Balancing Act serves as a primer on the characteristics of working students and the supports community colleges can offer to ensure these students are able to attain a degree or credential.
  • Included in Celebrating TCU Successes are articles and personal stories demonstrating the progress. There are analyses from the detailed student cohort “data reviews” in addition to “progress checks” by the TCUs conducted at the GISS institutes for the past few years. Results of these processes provide both qualitative and quantitative information about TCU progress in promoting and effecting student success at their colleges.
  • Apprenticeships: An Emerging Community College Strategy for Workforce Development features profiles of apprenticeship programs at Harper College and San Jacinto College. These programs illustrate how community colleges are working to expand apprenticeship opportunities for students to gain jobs in growing and in-demand industries in their regions. The profiles also detail how the colleges are working to diversify apprenticeship programs to non-traditional industries and reach out to a diverse range of students, especially women and students of color.
  • The Rural Male in Higher Education: How Community Colleges Can Improve Educational and Economic Outcomes for Rural Men summarizes the economic conditions in rural communities since the Great Recession and highlights the educational attainment of rural men.
  • Continuing Progress: How Urban Community Colleges Are Improving Outcomes for Minority Men takes a deeper look at the economic and demographic state of urban America and the connections to postsecondary participation and attainment among minority men. The paper discusses several barriers to postsecondary access and completion faced by minority men and strategies to overcome these challenges. 
  • Aligning for Student Success: How Community Colleges Work with K-12 to Improve College and Career Outcomes calls on community college presidents and trustees implement strategies to accelerate academic transitions, extend navigational supports, and serve as career bridges from high school to the workforce. The report identifies successful community college practices and offers high-level strategies community college president and trustees can take to partner with K-12 to dramatically improve student outcomes. 


  • Partnerships for a Future-Ready Workforce details how community colleges and businesses can form strong partnerships, national employment trends and postsecondary attainment, and policies & practices that form a continuum of education and career training. The report also highlights five examples of innovative postsecondary education and workforce development initiatives from South Carolina; Washington; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Maricopa County, Arizona; and Maryland.
  • To help governing boards fulfill their stewardship mandates, Executive Leadership Transitioning at Community Colleges outlines crucial factors, variables, and issues concerning presidential transitions.