- A two-year college north of Columbus, Ohio, announced a new program to encourage first-year student retention and degree completion — a scholarship that will fund a second full year of academic study for eligible students.
- Marion Technical College's Get to Next Scholars program will give students with a 2.5 GPA and who complete 30 first-year credit hours a stipend for textbook purchases along with the balance of tuition costs after financial aid awards are applied.
- Scholarship recipients will be mandated to meet regularly with academic advisors and career counselors, and with each other as a cohort to learn about other campus-based support services.
Colleges and universities are launching a variety of initiatives to propel young and adult learners to degree completion. Intrusive analytics and mentoring helped Middle Tennessee State University improve student learning outcomes, and community colleges nationwide are looking to reduce costs for working adult students, such as Columbia College cutting tuition for this specific student group.
Child care, transportation and food assistance are other ways institutions are expanding college access beyond tuition, in addition to increasing efforts to make digital textbooks and learning equipment more affordable for a wider cross-section of students. When considered in addition to a growing list of states making community college tuition conditionally free, students will have far more options for college choice than they may have had just five years ago. These efforts could ignite a boom in college attendance, which has been declining in recent years at many campuses nationwide.