Low-income students face long odds of getting to graduation, but a new study suggests students could be more successful in two-year community colleges if they received more financial aid.
The Association of Community College Trustees, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, and the Institute for College Access & Success released a report showing around half of low-income students who had no family support but received more than $7,500 in financial aid either graduated or transferred from community college compared to 17% who received only between $1,001 and $2,500 in assistance. It noted that students who received a combination of federal, state, and institutional aid were most successful.
“When even students in the lowest-tuition state struggle to cover all the costs of being in college, it’s clear that community college students across the country are facing very real financial barriers,” said Noah Brown, president, and chief executive officer of Association of Community College Trustees.
Other studies echo the theory that more money to low-income students gives them a higher chance of success. Research showed that participants in the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and, separately, in the Dell Scholars program had higher graduation rates than their unaffiliated peers. Phi Theta Kappa is a large honors and scholarship program for high-achieving community college students while the Dell program provides financial support and advice to low-income students pursuing bachelor’s degrees.
Though Phi Theta Kappa and Dell Scholars hand-pick high-achievers for their programs, Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Phi Theta Kappa’s president and CEO, still noted “When you give a student a financial benefit, their completion rate goes through the roof.”
Author: Andrew Rombach
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