“Free college” programs eliminate one of the biggest barriers to a college degree, but for adults returning to school, tuition isn’t the only stressor.
About 13,000 adults enrolled last fall in Tennessee Reconnect, a state program that gives free community college tuition to people over age 25 who haven’t yet earned a college degree.
Mike Krause, head of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission that oversees Tennessee Reconnect, told NPR they need to do more to prevent students from dropping out because their reasons for leaving school aren’t always financial.
Colleges and universities are working to recruit more diverse populations. But a new book finds that these marginalized populations often don’t have the resources and support they need as they work toward a degree.
“There’s a difference between access and inclusion,” explains Anthony Abraham Jack, author of the new book The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students.
“Universities have extended invitations to more and more diverse sets of students but have not changed their ways to adapt to who is on campus.”
A new effort to raise graduation rates for single moms enrolled in community college is officially underway.
Single moms are among the fastest growing populations on college campuses – more than 11 percent of college students – but only 28 percent of single moms graduate within six years.
Former second lady Jill Biden announced the Community College Women Succeed initiative in late February. The initiative will start with regional roundtables, actually talking with these single mothers, and building a support system from there.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.