Strengthening Student Currency in CCPE: Community College Innovators

Throughout Illinois, community colleges, alongside their high school counterparts, are creating unique opportunities for students who earn the prestigious College and Career Pathway Endorsement (CCPE). We define these unique opportunities as currency options, which include additional funding and support opportunities for CCPE earners who enroll at a participating college.

To support the scaling of CCPE currency, EdSystems launched an initiative in July 2022 at the community college level, thanks to support from The Joyce Foundation. This initiative champions community colleges to maximize the currency benefits for students who are College and Career Pathway Endorsement earners while keeping equity at the center.

Our Why

The point of focus of this project is student success. Our goals are to:

  • Increase secondary enrollment in college and career pathways, particularly in underrepresented industry areas. For this cohort, we focused on the industry sectors of manufacturing, engineering, technology, and trades (METT); health sciences technology (HST); and agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR).
  • Increase the number of students who complete secondary pathways, earning a CCPE and industry credentials.
  • Increase matriculation into postsecondary programs (particularly at community colleges) and the workforce.
  • Develop currency opportunities for CCPE earners, thereby raising the value of the CCPE.

Equity at the Center

As a central part of their participation in the initiative, community college leaders completed an equity plan that identifies inequities in pathway metrics that impact vulnerable populations. Importantly, they then identified strategies to address these challenges. As a result of this work, our community college partners have adopted in part or all of the following barrier reduction strategies to increase student participation and retention: diversification of pathway enrollment marketing strategies; additional need-based funding and increased scholarship opportunities; culturally relevant enrollment and recruitment activities; and Implicit bias training for staff and faculty.

Currency Plans

Please join us in celebrating the hard work of these early adopters.

Illinois Valley Community College
Illinois Valley Community College will provide tuition waivers for one three-credit hour course to up to 20 students who earn the CCPE on their transcript in either HST or METT, which has a financial value of approximately $400 for students. This tuition waiver will help decrease the economic costs of postsecondary enrollment for CCPE graduates. This course is provided to students through a collaboration of Illinois Valley Community College and its foundation office. 

Joliet Junior College
Joliet Junior College is offering a tuition waiver for high school students who earned the CCPE in any pathway sector during the 2022–23 school year. The waiver will be for one three-credit hour course. Students must enroll in at least six credit hours to be eligible for the tuition waiver, valued at approximately $500 per student. It is designed to decrease the cost of postsecondary enrollment for CCPE earners.

Kaskaskia College
Students earning a CCPE in an agriculture pathway will receive a one-credit tuition waiver upon enrollment at Kaskaskia College, at a financial savings of $136. Given the interest in the region for education, manufacturing, and health science pathways, Kaskaskia is also exploring doing a similar tuition credit waiver for students who earn the CCPE in those pathway sectors.

Sauk Valley Community College
High school students who earn the CCPE and take BIO 108 will receive additional application points toward admission into the Licensed Practical Nurse program, which has a selective admissions process. BIO 108 is considered a gateway course for the nursing program. The institution will provide extra support for students who enroll in this class to increase class persistence rates. These supports include an asynchronous How to Be Successful in Bio 108 mini-course, tutoring, access to office hours for BIO 108 during the summer, and a faculty mentor. In addition, the course cost, textbook, and lab manual for BIO 108 will be provided, with an estimated financial value of over $1,000 to students. Paid tuition and book costs will alleviate financial barriers for low-income students and students who may not qualify for aid.

Shawnee Community College
District high school students who graduate with the CCPE in HST will receive an incentive of ten extra points toward their entrance into the Practical Nursing program plus a waiver for TEAS test costs, a $70 value. The incentives encourage students to take these types of courses and help increase a student’s chances of being selected for a seat in the nursing program.

The chart below outlines the college’s various currency options. You can also use the links to view their marketing materials.

College Pathway Currency Documentation
Illinois Valley College
Joliet Junior College
Kaskaskia College
Sauk Valley Community College
Shawnee Community College

As we celebrate the good work of these institutions, we encourage all community colleges to not only create currency options for CCPE earners but to critically consider equity plans to address barrier reduction strategies for vulnerable populations. We can collectively increase CCPE district implementation and equitable pathway enrollment statewide through these efforts. If you have additional questions about this process or would like to partner in this work, please contact EdSystems

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