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College-Completion Nonprofit Releases 'AI Playbook'

The nonprofit Complete College America recently unveiled a 78-page document enumerating more than 170 use cases for generative AI in higher education, including predictive maintenance, data analytics and tutoring.

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The education nonprofit Complete College America, an advocate for structural and policy reform to boost college-completion rates, published a 78-page "AI playbook" this month outlining more than 170 equitable uses for generative artificial intelligence tools in education and administration.

According to a news release, the nonprofit's document, titled Attainment with AI: Making a Real Difference in College Completion with Artificial Intelligence, categorizes AI use cases such as optimizing IT infrastructure through predictive maintenance, automated compliance reporting, data analytics for enrollment management and planning, providing students with feedback, and tutoring and advising. The nonprofit also released an accompanying white paper, The AI Divide: Equitable Applications of AI in Higher Education to Advance the Completion Agenda, which recommends that universities invest in making AI capabilities equitable and accessible, and use more representative data sets to mitigate algorithmic biases when developing AI programs.

“AI is reshaping so many facets of modern life, and though there are challenges, we must look at the opportunities it brings, especially when it comes to student success and college completion strategies,” Yolanda Watson Spiva, president of Complete College America, said in a public statement. “Our new AI resources provide a road map for creating new capacity at campuses of every size and financial situation. We are keeping our eye toward the future, always grounded in our mission and commitment to equitable college access; the AI playbook and equity paper are exactly the type of resources that will propel equitable access to postsecondary credentials.”

Citing a January survey from that noted more than 30 percent of students are already using AI tools like ChatGPT in their course assignments, the news release said most discussions centering on AI focus mainly on appropriate classroom use cases. It said the AI playbook aims to give colleges and universities additional information on using AI for student support and increasing efficiency on campus in order to allow faculty to devote more time to instruction.

“The strategies and policies that increase student success aren’t a mystery — but scaling those strategies and policies is a challenge for many institutions because of resource constraints,” Vistasp Karbhari, a past president of the University of Texas at Arlington, said in a public statement. “As AI continues to grow, it has the potential to begin leveling the playing field across higher education; however, we must ensure that all institutions have the technology, expertise and financial resources to access and implement technological advances such as generative AI. Only then will we be able to unleash the true scalability of these tools to address the inequities of access and attainment.”

The equity paper also noted the establishment of a new advisory council, the Complete College America Council on Equitable AI in Higher Education, to work with large tech companies developing new AI tools, as well as with accreditation agencies and the state and federal government, to ensure the results are equitable. It will also host discussions about AI adoption that represent “those who have been historically excluded from conversations about postsecondary policy, product and funding decisions.”

“The playbook and equity paper are instruments that higher education professionals and practitioners can put into immediate use to accelerate equity, access and completion on their campuses,” Audrey Ellis, founder of the tech company T3 Advisory and co-author of the paper, said in a public statement. “Creating a landscape where colleges and universities can unleash the power of AI — albeit with cautions to keep in mind — to transform their institutions and uplift their students."