Giving at-risk college students the supports they need
- Low-income and first-generation college students face low rates of college completion and are almost four times more likely to drop out after the first year.
- Putting a greater emphasis on coaching, mentoring, and career opportunities can help first-generation students do better, according to eCampus News.
- A program in Indiana, which focuses on success coaching, is already seeing gains among persistence levels in at-risk students.
First-generation college students make up around a third of the college-going population, but face significantly more hurdles, even beyond financial ones. Students struggle with adapting to college life, personal responsibilities outside their academic careers, and connecting classwork with eventual careers. Student mentoring is one solution that has shown promise in helping at-risk students stay on track, and research has shown some gains for mentored students both short-term and long-term.
Other risk factors for low-income students may have more to do with their personal experiences. Nationwide figures show that almost 33% of community college students struggle with hunger and 15% are homeless, according to NPR. One suggestion is that colleges team up with state and local governments to track these students better and ensure they have the necessary supports.