Category Archives: College Completion

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Op-Ed: Incentives for Returning Students Could Boost College Completion Rates

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Want to increase the number of US adults who hold bachelor’s degrees?

One former college president is urging legislators to offer financial incentives to adult students who wish to return to school.

One in five Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 started college but have not finished, Sanford J. Ungar wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published last month.

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Report: Community College Paves the Way to Four-Year Degrees

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The bachelor’s degree pipeline is growing stronger for community college graduates.

A new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that of community college graduates who hold no previous degrees or certificates, 41 percent earn a bachelor’s degree within the next six years.

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Even on Welcoming Campuses, LGBT Students Face Hurdles to College Completion

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Colleges across the US have made major strides in their efforts to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

But a recent New York Times op-ed published by a University of Mississippi grad provides an important reminder that much work still needs to be done.

By his own admission, Dylan Lewis “thrived in college.” At the University of Mississippi he finally felt free to be himself. Lewis joined the student government, led campus tours, and felt safe and supported.

Yet despite a welcoming campus, Lewis— like many LGBT youth — faced unique challenges on his path to college completion.

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Report: New Technologies Could Help Improve Financial Aid Process

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Financial concerns cause nearly 3 million students to drop out of college each year.

Researchers at Tyton Partners believe a student-centered approach to financial aid could help reduce those numbers. In a recent report, the Boston-based advising firm chronicled the challenges posed by the current system and examined potential solutions through a survey of more than 1,800 higher ed administrators.

Their take? Targeted communication could help improve the process for both students and colleges.

“According to administrators, the biggest challenges preventing students from accessing aid are lack of student engagement, lack of awareness, and insufficient financial aid,” the report notes. “All three of these issues are addressable through improved communication between the institution and the student.”

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Share Advice For First-Gen Students

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What should first-generation college students know before they head to campus?

A new social media campaign organized by Better Make Room is encouraging college counselors and others to share their wisdom on Twitter.

Contribute your own tips by using #AdviceForFirstGen and #BetterMakeRoom in your tweets.

Tips already submitted include:

  • Find a mentor.
  • Don’t forget to renew your FAFSA every year.
  • When stressed, stop and smell the roses.

Continue reading Share Advice For First-Gen Students