Guest Blogger Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin
Community college completion rates are notoriously low. Would students have a better chance of succeeding if their colleges helped to bring more support to the table?
In 1998, “Joanne” dropped out of the Borough of Manhattan Community College because she couldn’t afford the subway fare. When she came back to BMCC in 2011, after losing her job, it was very different. Single Stop USA had set up benefits counseling on campus. In this blog, Sara Goldrick-Rab describes the approach taken by this new program, which has offices at 17 community colleges around the country. In the last year, the nonprofit helped 20,000 students collect $38-million in benefits. For every $1 the program costs, it brings $14 in benefits students wouldn’t have otherwise had. Single Stop hasn’t proven — yet — that its services boost completion rates. But according to Goldrick-Rab, it’s shown the community college can be “a point of connection as well as education.”