Helping students reach their destination

By Seminole State College of Florida

When a college connects with local service agencies, more barriers are knocked down for students.

For the past two years, Seminole State College of Florida and Heart of Florida United Way have teamed up on an innovative program to help at-risk students access resources they need to stay in school.

Destination: Graduation aims to increase the graduation rates of low-income students and student-veterans by providing comprehensive, on-campus supports. Both student groups show an increased risk of stopping or dropping out for nonacademic reasons.

“What some students go through to get to college is heroic,” said Jeff Hayward, president and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. “It would be tragic for one incident – like a car breaking down or unstable housing – to limit someone from achieving their dream and inhibiting earning potential. At United Way, we fight for the education of everyone in Central Florida so they can achieve their full potential. We’re proud to bring a program like Destination: Graduation to Seminole State College because they share in this vision.”

Leveraging United Way’s 2-1-1 Information & Assistance Helpline, Destination: Graduation connects students to more than 2,000 campus and community resources and emergency grants. The program embeds a 2-1-1 specialist and case manager at multiple Seminole State campus locations, so students are able to meet with someone on campus and receive immediate access to services and support.

“We are proud to partner with the Heart of Florida United Way’s Destination: Graduation program.  It is having great success in helping our students overcome challenges by connecting them with community resources and providing emergency funding to help at-risk students continue their education and attain a degree,” said E. Ann McGee, president of Seminole State College and Heart of Florida United Way board chair.

Consistent with national averages, low-income students and student-veterans at Seminole State have graduation rates about 2-4 percent below the overall average. With the help of Destination: Graduation, students are re-enrolling at a higher rate than ever before. From Fall 2015-16, 83 percent of students who received financial assistance went on to re-enroll or graduate, versus 68 percent of their low-income peers.

Destination: Graduation is administered through the Central Florida College Access Network, a partnership between United Way and community organizations that aims to reduce barriers to postsecondary education.

This article was originally posted at Seminole State’s website. Read it here. And then discuss at LinkedIn.

Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida is a public state college with four campuses in Central Florida, United States. Seminole State is the eighth-largest member institution of the Florida College System.