Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, Achieving the Dream now leads the most comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for student success in higher education history. Together with a Network of over 220 institutions of higher education, 100 coaches and advisors, and numerous investors and partners working throughout 39 states and the District of Columbia ATD is helping more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.
A nation in which community colleges are highly valued for preserving access and ensuring that their students, especially low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity.
To lead and support a national network of community colleges to achieve sustainable institutional transformation through sharing knowledge, innovative solutions and effective practices and policies leading to improved outcomes for all students.
Evidence-based, student centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream, Inc. embraces continuous improvement, fosters creativity and innovation, and operates with transparency and respect.
Community colleges are an indispensable asset in our nation's efforts to ensure and preserve access to higher education and success for all students, particularly students of color, low-income students, and other historically underrepresented student populations. However, student access and success in higher education continues to be impacted by the effects of structural racism and systemic poverty. Achievement gaps among student groups reflect structural inequities that are often the result of historic and systemic social injustices. These inequities typically manifest themselves as the unintended or indirect consequences of unexamined institutional or social policies.
Achieving the Dream believes that access to a high quality education in an inclusive environment is the right of all individuals and imperative for the continued advancement of a strong democracy and workforce. Achieving the Dream also believes higher education institutions have an obligation to work toward equity for their students. Equity is grounded in the principle of fairness. In higher education, equity refers to ensuring that each student receives what they need to be successful through the intentional design of the college experience.
Achieving the Dream expects colleges to dismantle the barriers facing underserved students. Colleges must routinely scrutinize structural barriers to equity and invest in equity-minded policies, practices, and behaviors that lead to success for all students.