Helping students gain early momentum is essential not only for improving student success rates and for closing equity gaps but also for countering declining community college enrollments. To build back enrollments, community colleges need to substantially increase retention as well as recruitment, particularly among students from underserved groups, says this report from the Community College Research Center.

CCRC has developed a framework called “Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan” to help colleges enrich entering students’ experiences in exploring, choosing, and planning a program of study. The ultimate aim of the framework is to increase retention among students, especially those who are likely to stop out in response to prevailing college practices. This brief describes the motivation, research evidence, and equity implications that underlie the ACIP framework as a useful strategy for colleges.