WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Complete College America (CCA) announced today the formation of a new partnership that will focus efforts on boosting graduation rates throughout the nation's black colleges, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs). The announcement was made as part of CCA's 2016 Annual Convening of the Alliance in San Francisco, an event that brought together close to 600 higher education leaders and advocates from around the country. TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. served as the closing keynote speaker for the event. TMCF will join CCA as the 41 st member of the organization's Alliance - a network of states and institutional consortia that have committed to completion goals and implementation at scale of the organization's Game Changers strategies. TMCF's membership, which greatly enhances CCA's ongoing efforts to close achievement gaps, is the first of its kind - representing a national consortium of nearly 50 publicly-supported black colleges that will now have access to the full breadth of CCA's resources and technical assistance efforts. "HBCUs have long been our nation's greatest champions for ensuring access to college, especially for African American students," said Complete College America President Stan Jones. "Today's announcement demonstrates the seriousness of their commitment not only to access, but to student success and completion. We applaud the Thurgood Marshall College Fund - and the colleges they represent - and look forward to working together to dramatically boost college completion rates and close achievement gaps." "I am extremely proud of this partnership and TMCF's inclusion because it is solution driven. It's no secret that black college graduation rates could be higher. TMCF is committed to be apart of the solution to educate, empower and encourage students on our campuses to stay the course, finish the race and graduate," said Johnny C. Taylor Jr. "The strategic alliance with CCA is timely and I have no doubt will lead to positive outcomes for our students and member-schools. This is a new day for black colleges." The first joint project for TMCF and CCA will be the collection of completion data using CCA's Common College Completion Metrics. The initial collection - which will explore graduation rates, credit accumulation, time to degree, and remediation rates, among other data - will provide baseline information to advance the organizations' shared mission to close achievement gaps. In addition, TMCF will also be launching a national 15 to Finish campaign with member institutions to encourage more students to take at least 15 credits per semester (30 credits per year)—the only enrollment level that puts students on track for on-time completion. The 15 to Finish initiative, which began at the University of Hawai'i, is one of Complete College America's five Game Changing strategies. The two organizations will invite philanthropic partners to help fund broad-based implementation of CCA's strategies at HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.