It’s hardly a surprise in our evolved world to understand that the entrance into college- or the financial aid that enables students from low-income households to attend college- is just a single part of a fractural pie that make getting a degree possible.
While integral and important, looking at finances and college entrance alone creates a blindside to the challenging baggage many students bring with them to universities. As the New York Times so eloquently details, there is so much more than an algorithm needed for vulnerable students:
“College can be a difficult time for everyone. Divorces of parents and deaths of grandparents are not uncommon. Counselors and advisers are more or less prepared for these universal types of challenges. But whom do students turn to when they get those 2 a.m. calls bringing news of street violence, eviction or arrests?”
Which is why our research-backed Stay the Course program is so instrumental in degree-completion. Thankfully, the national conversation over the years has shifted in favor of this very thing—that students need cheerleaders, coaches, barrier-breakers, supports, and services that go well beyond the classroom if they are ever to see the other side of the stage.
We’ve been studying the effects of supercharged case managers on education outcomes for six years. And the findings are more than striking. In the terms of our research partners at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame, they are statistically significant. Consider that we are currently serving close to 400 students across 5 Tarrant County Colleges as well as other replication sites across the nation. When paired with a navigator, results show that their success of graduating is at a rate 4x higher than those who didn’t receive our services. Even more, 35% of female students completed a degree or certificate after three years compared to less than 1% in the relevant comparison group.
With even more national recognition around the problem, we see ourselves as a key localized solution. Ask us about it, and we’ll show you the faces of people who’ve made it because of a lot more than money. People who have double-digit kids. People who are single moms. People without their visas. People with severe health challenges. People from extreme poverty. There is a way, and we’re determined to make it clear and easy to replicate.