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Leah Meyer Austin Award Winner

A commitment to advancing student success and closing equity gaps has earned Columbus State national recognition.

Columbus State Community College is one of two winners of the 2019 Leah Meyer Austin Award. It’s the highest honor a college in the Achieving the Dream network can earn. The award has been given annually since 2009, and since then only 18 of the nation’s 1,000-plus community colleges have been recognized. Columbus State earned the award by producing significant gains in course completion, retention, graduation rates, and narrowing equity gaps. Achieving the Dream also praised Columbus State's leadership in the Central Ohio region, taking note of key partnerships the College has established with high schools, universities, and local industries.

Leah Meyer Austin Award

Helping Students Graduate

Since joining Achieving the Dream in 2012, the Columbus State has taken a data-driven approach to improve student success. The College introduced many different interventions to help students stay on course and graduate, including mandatory orientation, a student success course, online and peer tutoring, and the creation of a central student-facing office that provides cohesive registration and financial aid support.

As a result, the overall graduation rate increased more than 2.5 times from the 2010-11 rate. Historically at-risk student populations also saw significant gains. Over a period of three years, the semester-to-semester retention rate for black students increased from 68 percent to 81 percent (compared to an 84 percent retention rate for white students).

These results are impressive, but Columbus State continues to look for innovative ways to help students transform their lives. Read more about the College’s ongoing efforts here.

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