Too poor for college
Millions of Americans start college, but never finish a degree. Why not? Poor preparation and too many competing responsibilities, conclude Michael Lawrence Collins and Joel Vargas.
“Close to two-thirds of community college students work to support themselves and their families while in school, and they may be facing homelessness and hunger,” write Collins and Vargas. “Many are single parents, and more than a third are the first in their families to attend college.”
Remedial reforms should include non-academic support services for low-income, first-generation and minority students, argues College Completion: Focus on the Finish Line, by the National Center on Developmental Education.
“Not enough, the authors contend, is spent on financial insecurity, hunger, homelessness, and child-care worries that can derail the efforts of minority, low-income, and first-generation students,” reports Katherine Mangan in Education Week.
Among the programs the group singles out for praise are the City University of New York’s ASAP program, which offers extensive wraparound support for first-year students; the I-Best Program, which integrates basic-skills instruction with career training; and the guided-pathway model, which gives students fewer choices and a more-structured curriculum.
Two-thirds of community college students are “food insecure” and half are “housing insecure,” according to Hungry and Homeless in College, a report by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. Fourteen percent are homeless, concludes the survey of 33,000 students at 70 colleges in 24 states.
Not surprisingly, students who are struggling to pay for food and housing are more likely to drop out.