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Supporting Success
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  1. Supporting Success Working Poor Families Project Academy on State Postsecondary Policy Amy-Ellen Duke Center for Law and Social Policy aduke@clasp.org June 2006

  2. The Persistence and Completion Challenges • Goal: Successful completion of demand occupational credentials • Small percentages of adult students who had the goal at entry of earning a BA or AA had achieved that goal within six years (10% and 15% respectively) • Of all first-time college students, who entered a CC in 1995, only 36% received a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree within six years • But, adult students were more likely to have reached the goal of completing a certificate program (84% of low-income adults did so over the 1995-2001 period, compared to 52% of other adults with same goal)

  3. Barriers Facing Low-Income Adult Students • Juggling work, family and school • Lower skills and/or limited English proficiency • Financial and logistical barriers • Limited exposure to career options • Lack of confidence and personal support • Difficulty navigating complex bureaucracies

  4. Policy Options to Support Student Success • Use state funds to encourage promising models for supporting success: • Case management model of advising for at-risk students, including early intervention strategies • Use of cohorts (such as learning communities) • Flexible delivery modes (evening, weekend, modular, distance) • Opportunities for integrating work and learning • Discern gaps in support strategies • Document cost benefits of supporting success

  5. Counseling, Advising & Academic Assistance • Repeated studies show importance of academic advising in influencing students’ persistence & completion, particularly among students ID’d as highly likely to drop out • But, counselor to student ratios at many CCs 1:1,000 + • Policy Issue: • Provide dedicated state funding for counseling and guidance (lack of dedicated funding stream in most states means it is easier to cut) • Establish state standards for counseling and guidance • Academic Assistance: Orientation, career exploration, development and monitoring of an education plan, tutoring, study habit workshops, study groups, etc., early warning system, transfer assistance

  6. Illinois Student Success Grant • Targeted funding from the Illinois Higher Education Board budget that is allocated to each community college, which provides student services based on that campus’ student needs • Can be used for services such as personal, academic or career counseling; assessment and testing; mentoring and persistence and completion programs • Geared toward students who are academically at-risk, economically disadvantaged or disabled • In FY 2002, $13.3 million supported 305,000 students at IL CCs, compared to $7 million from Federal SSS program • Severely cutback, but partial funding recently restored

  7. Cohorts and Learning Communities • Learning communities entail students going through their academic program in cohorts, with instruction sometimes organized around themes • Create supportive peer groups • Encourage shared learning and more in-class engagement • Need to be scheduled and formatted so meet needs of non-traditional students • Kingsborough CC (NY): • FT freshman ages 17-34, including some with low placement test scores • LC students passed more courses (including basic English) and had higher GPAs than comparison group

  8. Flexible Delivery • Accelerated degree programs, nights & weekends, high quality distance education • Modularization or chunking • Breaking longer programs down into relatively small chunks with credentials awarded for each chunk • Contextualized curriculum (e.g., I-BEST) • Policy Issues: • Institutional practices • Financial aid rules based on traditional schedule, methods • State support for efforts to institute flexible delivery practices • Example: KY’s career pathway program requires grantees to report to state on the instructional innovations in their programs, including evening/weekend course schedules

  9. Traditional Support Services • Child care • Slots and availability of non-traditional hour care • Establish dedicated funding for on-campus child care programs • Minnesota Postsecondary Child Care grant • For low-income students (not receiving TANF) with children under 12 attending school at least 6 credits/term; max available to FT students $2,300/year for each eligible child • Transportation assistance • Proposal to use IL’s Job Access Reverse Commute transportation funds to provide transportation assistance to low-income community college students

  10. California EOPS and CARE • Dedicated money from state general fund to provide student services • Provides resources to colleges to assist low-income students with: • Academic and personal counseling • Child care and transportation • Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) targets students receiving TANF as a supplement to EOPS

  11. Developmental Education • Courses in reading, writing, or math for college-level students lacking those skills necessary to perform college-level work at the level required by the school…can help promote retention and completion • Participation rates and length • Public two-year institutions: In 2000, 42% of freshmen enrolled in at least one remedial course. • Roughly 4 in 10 adult students take at least 1 developmental education course in college, with even higher rates at community colleges • Length of time spent in remediation increasing • Proportion of institutions reporting one year of remediation for students increased from 28% to 35% between 1995-2000 • Partially due to increased access to higher ed

  12. Developmental Education • Inverse relationship between extent of student’s need for dev ed and eventual completion of degree (Adelman-1998, based on recent hs grads) • Students who enroll in dev ed much less likely to earn creds • Recent WA state research shows that students who took dev ed after ESL or ABE/GED were more likely to earn credential or at least 45 credits than those who did not; meaning dev ed can help open the gates for former ESL, ABE/GED students (Prince & Jenkins-2005) • Given importance of remediation, costs, and sometimes disappointing results, states exploring ways to improve performance and productivity of dev ed • Contextualization so it’s more relevant (e.g., I-BEST) • Keys to success: mandatory assessment & placement program that uses reliable instruments, curriculum design & delivery system with clearly defined goals, holistic support services, systematic evaluation

  13. Developmental Education: Policy Issues • Institutional Structure of Dev Ed Often Shaped by State • Mandatory or optional; placement policies • Restrictions on remedial course taking (time limits by institution, state) • Types of credit awarded (most frequently, institutional credit that counts toward aid but not toward degree completion) • When do students exit and other transitions policies • Other Options: • Ensure strong assessment • High quality remediation (increase reimbursements if low) • Grant financial aid while students receive remediation • Ensure students don’t exhaust or come close to exhausting financial aid eligibility while still in remediation, • Provide incentives for states to experiment with new remediation techniques, make remediation a performance reporting measure

  14. Programs for Low-Income Parents • Kentucky Ready to Work • Financial aid, case manager based at college, child care, work-study jobs • Louisiana TANF Financial Assistance Program • Financial aid, case manager at college, child care, creation of workplace literacy labs at colleges • California Community Colleges CalWORKs Services • Financial aid, case manager based at college, child care, work-study jobs

  15. Kentucky’s Ready to Work Initiative • Statewide network of Ready to Work Coordinators based at each community college to serve low-income parents who are TANF eligible (but not restricted to TANF recipients) • Provide intensive case management • Work study jobs allow many RtW parents to earn up to $2,500 annually while in school at jobs connected to their field of study. • Establishes peer support groups by providing initial college readiness class in cohorts.

  16. Kentucky’s Ready to Work Initiative • Coordinators provide or facilitate access to recruitment, assessment, retention, tutoring, mentoring, career counseling, financial aid, job development, job placement, and post-placement services • Participants have access to TANF support services such as child care and transportation • Outcomes: Higher GPA’s, program completion than average KY cmty college student, highest increase in earnings and in steady work of any TANF activity, and the longer the participation the bigger the wage increase