pathways project

Crossing the finish line

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

New programs help students reach their educational destination.

Promise programs at community colleges—programs that allow students to attend tuition-free—are helping more students get in the door. The number of these programs is growing. But what about supports to help students stay in college and make it to graduation?

Tennessee, which famously launched the Tennessee Promise program, is now piloting the Tennessee Promise Forward program at five community colleges. The colleges, receiving grant money from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, will develop and expand academic and advising programs to help Tennessee Promise scholarship students complete a degree or certificate program.

One of the five colleges, Columbia State Community College, will expand its Guided TN Promise Pathways. The program encompasses guided pathways, advising, coaching and other support services to ensure that students make the most of their opportunity through the Tennessee Promise.

Cleveland State Community College will provide early interventions and add academic assistance to its proactive advising program. The college will expand the number of success coaches available to the Tennessee Promise students and introduce a centralized Academic Assistance Center focused on providing proactive support.

Colorado doesn’t have a statewide Promise program, but its 13 community colleges are able to give students that last push toward completion. The Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges announced the new Last Mile Scholarship program. The scholarships are intended to help students who are close to completing an associate degree but need financial assistance to overcome a financial obstacle to graduate.

More colleges also are providing emergency grants for students. These grants can help students overcome barriers to getting to class or completing work. A car repair or broken laptop may result in a student dropping classes.

California’s Sierra College created an emergency grant fund to prevent this from happening. Students can receive a grant of up to $500 for one-time emergencies. The college set up an endowment to ensure that grant funds will never dry up.

At Chippewa Valley Technical College in Wisconsin, a fundraising campaign is held each year for the college’s emergency grant fund. A majority of donations come from faculty and staff. CVTC awarded about $45,000 to 102 students last year to help with child care expenses, utilities and food and car repairs.

More information about emergency grants is available in the August/September issue of Community College Journal.

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AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.