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College completion effort gains new tool as schools track down degree-eligible former students

Increasing college completion rates remains a constant worry among education leaders. Now some schools are scouring their databases to track down former students who unknowingly qualify for degrees.

An effort known as Project Win-Win has helped community colleges and four-year schools in Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin identify hundreds of ex-students who have either already earned enough credits to receive associate degrees or are just a few classes shy of getting them.

Project leaders hope the effort will encourage students to come back to school or seek advanced education after receiving two-year degrees. It worked so well at Missouri's Columbia College that the school plans to broaden its audit efforts to find bachelor's degree candidates.

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