To date, there is no unified set of quality standards for community colleges seeking to confer workforce-focused baccalaureate degrees. Filling this void is critical due to the rapid expansion of community college baccalaureate (CCB) programs in the United States. Furthermore, CCB-conferring colleges want to demonstrate how these new pathways produce more equitable baccalaureate attainment outcomes for all student groups.

CCBA completed a yearlong project to identify what are the critical elements of CCB quality. Through the support of Ascendium Education Group, and guided by a national advisory task force, the CCBA:

  1. Held a series of conversations with key individuals and stakeholders to gather insight regarding the development, implementation, and design elements of high-quality CCB programs.
  2. Completed a literature review of existing definitions of program quality that focus on relevant frameworks centered on equitable student access and workforce outcomes.
  3. Developed a thought paper that synthesized this information along with CCBA’s existing detailed research about the benefits of CCBs. The thought paper identifies nine elements of quality CCB programs.

Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium’s work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all.


Ascendium Grant Project Manager

Carmen Garcia-Beaulieu