Student Retention

November 2017
The number of high school students taking dual enrollment courses at community colleges has grown dramatically in the last two decades as students and their families have seized on the potential of these courses to give students a jump-start on college and to save money by finishing college faster. As shown in Figure 1, from 1995 to 2015, fall enrollments of students aged 17 or younger at public four-year institutions grew from 72,000 to 220,000, while at community colleges they grew from 163,000 to 745,000.[1] These data indicate that community colleges’ market share of students aged 17 or...
November 2016
To address the representation gap in the sciences, a partnership of institutions implemented two different early college/dual enrollment courses for high school students as part of a larger project. One program was a concurrent (in-school) enrollment program, and the other was a summer residential program. Each program ran for five years, and all of them successfully prepared students for college STEM. Many students entered STEM programs in college, and 80 percent of them are still there today. The Larger Project The Minority Student Pipeline Math and Science Partnership—(MSP)2—was a joint...
November 2016
It’s crunch time on campus at Onondaga Community College (OCC). Spring semester final exams are just over a week away. In Professor Kristen Costello’s Microeconomics (ECO 204) class she’s discussing final project options with students. “You can do either a paper or a presentation,” Costello said. “If you choose a presentation you can do so as an individual or in a group of up to three people.” Costello is holding class in the lounge of one of the college’s four residence halls. This particular residence hall is the home of Business majors who reside in one of the college’s Living Learning...
June 2016
Students of color, males in particular, face significant challenges in higher education. African American male students, on average, are less successful than other racial/ethnic groups, including African American women. Compared to Asian/Pacific Islander or White/Non-Hispanic students, they are less likely to succeed in both developmental and college-level coursework and are more likely to drop out. Latino students are the least likely of all racial/ethnic groups to transfer. African American students and Latino males have the lowest persistence rates (Elgin Community College, 2010). Students...
May 2016
A number of promising interventions have potential to benefit previously incarcerated young men of color (Wimer & Bloom, 2014). Several studies have shown that proactive programs that help young men of color connect to and progress through postsecondary education and training, as well as interventions that focus on emotional well-being and interpersonal problem-solving, lead to lower rates of recidivism, higher completion rates, and greater levels of employment (Patel & Valenzuela, 2013; Scrivener & Weiss, 2013; Heller, Pollack, Ander, & Ludwig, 2013). Thus, in conceptualizing...
January 2016
American College Testing, with over fifty years of college readiness research, defines college readiness as students having “a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college courses, which include English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology” (ACT, 2012, p. 3). Unfortunately, the majority of students graduating from high school are not college ready, and the need for improvement in the American high school educational structure is clear. Test results from 2015 give the percentage of high school...
August 2015
Many Norwalk Community College (NCC) students work full-time and care for their families while attending college. It's a constant juggling act with hurdles to overcome, including taking care of sick children, squeezing in study time between doctor's appointments, and coping with rising food costs. NCC realizes that having determination and a sterling work ethic aren't enough for some students to succeed. That's why, in addition to the requisite financial aid and career services, NCC offers two uncommon support services that provide students with free medical care and free groceries, right on...
July 2015
Every college campus has a feel, an atmosphere, that is all its own. Having spent the last 16 years working in metropolitan community colleges, I have had the opportunity to see all types of students interact with one another in that atmosphere, as well as with faculty and staff from all backgrounds. All students are on campus to learn, and when the learning mission is disrupted, it's important to know two things: why it was interrupted and how the college can stop the interference from reoccurring. One issue facing today's college campuses is how to comply with federal Title IX guidelines....
June 2015
Graduating high school students across the nation are faced with deciding whether to continue their education or enter the workforce. Many seek higher education in order to improve career opportunities and gain economic prosperity and social mobility (Blackwell & Pinder, 2014). The College Board claims that the average annual income for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree is $53, 976. The unemployment rate among these graduates is 4.7 percent, which is lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). While these statistics look promising,...
June 2015
Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) has announced an ambitious and exciting initiative that uses the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) as a tool to identify student achievement. CLA+ is a performance-based assessment that measures critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication and mechanics. Up2U Up2U is an incentive-based program that supports student learning, increases persistence and motivation, and advances achievement in degree completion. Students who participate in Up2U are driven to finish school on time and with a high level of academic...
May 2015
When looking at national data about American students who are identified as English language learners (ELL), overlapping definitions from two prominent sources are important to note. The U.S. Census Bureau uses the American Community Survey (2013) to obtain information about factors that disproportionately affect ELL students and their families. The survey compares statistics between "native" and "foreign" households, definitions which are determined by where the householder was born. Not all children whose parents were born outside of the U.S. are identified as ELL. However, when...
March 2015
In fall 2012, I applied for a Learning Challenge Grant to develop and present a hands-on workshop that would introduce a counseling, assessment, and retention tool (CART) system to the Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) department faculty and staff at Sinclair Community College (SCC). After this workshop, the goal was to offer it to the Science, Mathematics, and Engineering (SME) division, then to all SCC faculty. The workshop was requested to: Develop teamwork within the EET department; Enhance the overall success rate of students and faculty by implementing a system to increase the...
February 2015
Having spent the last 16 years working in metropolitan community colleges, I have had the opportunity to see all types of students: new-to-college eighteen year olds, fifteen year old non-driving dual credit students, and returning students who would rather not divulge their ages. All bring with them the sum of their life experiences. But one group that brings a set of experiences and skills like no other is returning student veterans. Because of the nature of the service, these men and women are arriving on our college campuses with more technical knowledge than most generations of students...
January 2015
Tidewater Community College (TCC) became the first institution of higher learning to launch its associate of science in business administration as a textbook-free degree program in 2013. Known as the Z-Degree—z for zero textbook cost—the program eases the pain of soaring textbook costs for college students by allowing students to complete the degree and spend no funds on textbooks and course materials. Professor Linda Williams is the faculty lead for the Z-degree. Students in the program use high-quality open textbooks and other open educational resources (OER), which are freely accessible,...
December 2014
Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) recently celebrated the grand opening of the Coyote Center, a new multi-functional facility serving as the front door of CGCC's Pecos Campus. The new 74,859-square-foot center is one of just a few buildings in the nation to innovatively blend academics, athletics, enrollment services, and student affairs into one location. The building was designed around a new model of student service that eliminates inefficiencies, like waiting in multiple lines. By combining most administrative resources under one roof and training staff to handle a broader range...

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