Community colleges are good at helping students who have a clear sense of direction. But the sprawling, underfunded campuses often offer little guidance for those who don't know what they want to study, or what to expect from college. Improving on-campus advising could become an imperative for two-year schools if the Obama administration's proposed college-ranking system ends up rewarding institutions for graduating students on time.
Software developed by Washington research and consulting company Education Advisory Board has helped four-year schools like Georgia State University increase graduation and retention rates. As the company tries to develop a similar product for two-year schools, it finds itself up against a much bigger challenge.