Community colleges open the door to higher education and skills training for millions of people across the U.S. As government leaders focus on global and state competitiveness, they’re rightly looking for innovative ways to increase access to a community college education.

Still, broader access is only one component to improving higher educational opportunity—and the upward mobility that comes with it. With roughly half of students who enroll in community college dropping out before completion, it’s clear we must also focus on new ways to address student retention, engagement and graduation if students are to realize their full potential.

One way to accomplish this is by focusing on the student experience, with customizable tools and resources that can be tailored to each student’s needs. At Cengage Learning, we have initiatives underway to help us better understand how students live and learn. We’re integrating students’ feedback into the design of our products to create solutions that truly meet their needs. And, with the help of products like MindTap, our personalized e-learning platform, classroom engagement increases, information retention improves, and students’ grades rise.

Collaboration and innovation are key to delivering solutions that truly impact performance, retention rates, and overall improved learning. When students have access to education that is affordable, engaging and impactful, they are in a position to be true catalysts of change – creating a workforce that is educated, fit for purpose and ready to compete in an increasingly global environment.

Examining the Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges: Two Free Resources

Cengage Learning is focused on keeping the student at the center of all we do. In partnership with Inside Higher Education, we are pleased to bring more attention to community colleges and the work they do to support the American workforce through “The Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges,” a free booklet that features articles on the program in Tennessee, other state plans and President Obama’s proposal, and opinion pieces that praise and critique the concept.

Download “The Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges,” produced by Inside Higher Ed with the support of Cengage Learning.

We also invite you to join Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Paul Fain for a lively debate on this topic. The free webinar will take place Tuesday, March 17 at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Register for “The Debate on Free Tuition at Community College” webinar.

Please share your thoughts on improving retention and engagement—and on the debate on free tuition at community collegesin the comments.