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Low Income Students at Community Colleges Jamie Petersen Cheryl Warmann ILASFAA 2008 – Springfield, IL.

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Presentation on theme: "Low Income Students at Community Colleges Jamie Petersen Cheryl Warmann ILASFAA 2008 – Springfield, IL."— Presentation transcript:

1 Low Income Students at Community Colleges Jamie Petersen Cheryl Warmann ILASFAA 2008 – Springfield, IL

2 Cultural and Social Captial Cultural capital—a student’s class primarily based on a family’s language, culture, attitudes, beliefs, and values Social capital—revolves around social networking, connections, and an individual’s participation in relationships and membership in social structures or networks Perna and Titus, 2005

3 Case Study Frank 17 Peoria High School 3.5/4.0 gpa Family of 3, lives with mother & stepfather Family income $50,000 Parent’s college savings $5,000 White Stepfather attended some college Talented basketball player Sweta 19 Palatine HS 2.7/4.0 gpa Family of 7—two older siblings live in India Family immigrated 5 years ago Family income $20,000 Parent’s college savings $0 Southeast Asian

4 Income affects Enrollment 84% of students enroll in any college or university from high-income families 54% of students enroll in any college or university from low-income families

5 Perceptions Three primary barriers to enrollment lack of financial aid lack of information about available aid and lack of college preparedness

6 Awareness Decision making based on perceptions of available financial aid Change language from ‘apply to find out’ to ‘apply to receive’ as much as possible Tell stories of students helped in brochures; provide someone that they can identify as someone like themselves Bring current students to share stories at events

7 Awareness A high school’s culture of preparation makes a difference in students’ access to information Use FAFSA4caster with earlier grades Minority students more likely to rely on high school counselors and high school faculty for information Relationships building with high schools and perhaps lower grades is necessary

8 Awareness Students need accurate and timely information about college and financial aid Study of 250 students, 50 observations, 8,000 person study helps build case for appropriate staffing. (De La Rosa & Tierney, n.d) Departmental relationship building so all offices can provide some level of FA support Students want information as early as 9 th grade

9 Awareness Group seminars can be helpful in concert with follow-up sessions; seminars cannot replace one to one advising & counseling Affordability and deadline dates presented a challenge too large to overcome Shame attached to large group discussions FA Presenters need others present after program is complete

10 Awareness Even after applying, many students require individualized and sustained support throughout the process Follow up telephone calls to new students Reminders to reapply Intrusive advising

11 Awareness Parents require information and knowledge about college and financial aid Parent’s brochure Parent’s section of website Parent’s orientation Host events in the community such as churches or community centers

12 Persistence Research challenges Funding and program rules change frequently so data is not considered stable and creates a challenge to make sense out of research results Lack of part-time adult student information Understanding the data source and who is included (or not included)

13 Persistence Attending a CC reduces students chances of earning a BA by 15% to 20% Approximately 1/3 of all CC students earn a degree or certificate within 8 years

14 Numbers Lowest tuition in the west at $2,361 Highest tuition in the middle states at $3,594 Average COA for FT $10,500 Average grant for FT $2,040 Average gap for FT $8,460

15 Work Nearly 80% of CC students work 53% of CC students under age 25 work Working more than 20 hours per week negatively affects persistence

16 Persistence FA recipients were able to persist as well as those students who did not receive FA FA is a positive student characteristic related to continued enrollment and graduation Grant only packages were 1.81 times more likely to persist than students who did not receive assistance (Clark, 2003) Other factors contribute to success thus one cannot conclude a grant is the driving force behind success

17 Persistence Merit based FA helps attract students who are likely to persist-even among very low-income CC students Research concluded mixed effects result when student loan in package Loans borrowed in the first year had a negative effect on persistence to the second year and did not support degree completion (Dowd and Coury, 2006)

18 Institutional Characteristics CCs that have a large percentage of federal Pell grant recipients was a negative institutional characteristic related to continued enrollment and graduation Raising scholarship dollars is positively associated with persistence

19 Institutional Characteristics Direct support for minority students; Strongly coupled services with other student service offices; Data driven information for changing any practices or policy; And continued assessment for program improvement are positively associated with persistence

20 Cognitive Skills Lower level reasoning and critical thinking affects how students make enrollment decisions Increase understanding of all college processes such as advising and orientation Issue reminders to register for classes Provide information about purchase of textbooks Define student role and responsibilities

21 Gaps in the Research Very four-year focused; need more studies involving community college students No significant study on College Goal Sunday Achieving the Dream research is helping to fill some gaps

22 Questions Jamie Petersen Cheryl Warmann


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