Category Archives: College Completion

US Fails to Reach Obama-era Targets for College Degree Holders

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In 2009, then-President Barack Obama announced a $12 billion initiative with a goal of returning the US to first in the world in the proportion of the population with degrees.

Ten year later, however, this goal seems even further out of reach.

The Hechinger Report recently looked at the goals and plans set by the American Graduation Initiative (AGI) and found that the US has fallen way behind. Continue reading US Fails to Reach Obama-era Targets for College Degree Holders

Report: College Completion Rates on the Rise

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National college completion rates have increased for the third consecutive year, according to a new report.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has been tracking this data for the past six years and the latest numbers are an all-time high. According to the report, the overall national six-year completion rate increased by 1.5 percentage points this year, reaching 58.3 percent.

Continue reading Report: College Completion Rates on the Rise

US Recognizes Campus Hunger for the First Time

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Food insecurity among students is finally getting recognized by the federal government.

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that there are at least 2 million students who are at risk of being food insecure and who qualify for SNAP benefits but did not receive them. This number could be significantly higher, but the data available at this time is inconclusive.

This report is the first time the federal government has significantly acknowledged food insecurity on college campuses.

Continue reading US Recognizes Campus Hunger for the First Time

Could Enhanced Advising Help More Students Find a Right-Fit Major?

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It’s no secret that switching majors can increase the time and money a student spends earning a degree. But college officials say it’s a scenario more and more undergrads are now facing.

According to federal data, a third of all college students change their major at least once. Ten percent of students switch paths two or more times.

Carol Jean Vale, president of Chestnut Hill College (PA), attributes the shift to a rise in college access. As more first-generation students enter college, they need different types of support, she told The Hechinger Report.

Continue reading Could Enhanced Advising Help More Students Find a Right-Fit Major?

Keeping Culture at the Center: Native Students Succeed When Curriculum Affirms Their Identity

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The statistics are stark when it comes to college access and success for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

On some reservations, the college-going rate for high school grads is as low as 18 percent, according to data from the American Indian College Fund. And US Census Bureau data shows that only 14 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives hold college degrees.

Yet when given support and curriculum that affirms their culture, Native students excel, Carrie Billy, president and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), told attendees Thursday at NACAC’s 74th National Conference in Salt Lake City.

“A lot of our students don’t know who they are,” she said. “They’ve been through the K-12 system — a lot of them on reservations — and still haven’t learned their culture and their identity.”

Continue reading Keeping Culture at the Center: Native Students Succeed When Curriculum Affirms Their Identity

Georgia State Lauded for Student Success Initiative

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Georgia State University has reinvented itself.

“By focusing on retaining low-income students, rather than just enrolling them, the college raised its graduation rate to 54 percent from 32 percent in 2003,” according to a recent New York Times article. “And for the last five years, it has awarded more bachelor’s degrees to African-Americans…than any other nonprofit college or university in the country.”

Officials from the university — a NACAC member institution — say data analysis and targeted supports have helped boost student success. Advisers monitor the daily progress of the school’s 40,000 undergrads and act quickly to provide assistance at the first sign that a student is struggling.

Continue reading Georgia State Lauded for Student Success Initiative

Now Available: ‘Nudges, Norms, and New Solutions’

Interested in using behavioral science to help more students get to and through college?

A new guide— Nudges, Norms, and New Solutions —is now available for educators as they develop strategies to assist college-bound students. A Nudge Hotline has also been established to help counselors and others customize the guide’s advice for the communities they serve.

Both the guide and the hotline are free and were developed through a collaboration between the Nudge4 Solutions Lab at the University of Virginia and ideas42, a nonprofit that applies behavioral science to today’s toughest social problems.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative is a project partner. Topics covered in the guide include access to college, student finances, and college life and academics.

Continue reading Now Available: ‘Nudges, Norms, and New Solutions’

The Fight to End Campus Hunger

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Could “food scholarships” help more students complete college?

Daphne Hernandez, an assistant professor of nutrition and obesity studies at the University of Houston, thinks so.

In a column published this month by Community College Daily, Hernandez noted that an estimated 50 percent of community college students nationwide lack access to healthy and affordable foods.

Continue reading The Fight to End Campus Hunger

Engagement Key to Retaining Non-Traditional College Students

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Determining which returning adult students are at risk of dropping out of college is a complex process, according to results from a recent national survey.

Common data points — such as demographics, choice of major, and hours devoted to studying — can’t reliably predict whether a nontraditional student will struggle to complete their degree.

As it turns out, the most dependable factor for identifying at-risk non-traditional students is the extent to which they make effective connections to their college, a factor that can be difficult to measure. After all, the very students who are most in danger of dropping out often have limited contact with professors, peers, and college staff, according to a recent report from Barnes & Noble College Insights — a division of the bookseller that produces quantitative and qualitative research related to higher education.

Continue reading Engagement Key to Retaining Non-Traditional College Students

Report Examines Experiences of First-Gen Students

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Prospective first-generation college students cite high educational aspirations as 10th graders, but take longer to enroll in college and are less likely than their peers to earn a degree.

Those findings are included in a new research brief from the US Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences. The report uses 10 years of data collected from a nationally representative sample of students who were high school sophomores in 2002.

Continue reading Report Examines Experiences of First-Gen Students