- Two San Francisco area colleges are experiencing increasing success from a program that fuses social justice topics into college prep curriculum as a part of outreach and development of high school graduates who are low income, first generation or in an unrepresented minority group. Inside Higher Ed profiles the Metro College Success Program, a bridge program offered at San Francisco State University and City College of San Francisco that provides high school students learning tracks in more than 10 academic disciplines to sharpen learning skills while navigating financial aid and academic coaching.
- The academies allow students to make real-world connections between subject areas and social issues such as gentrification and policing tactics. They serve about 25% of San Francisco State’s incoming students and about 500 City College students. If they qualify, City College students who transfer to San Francisco State automatically join the program's upper division.
- In its 11th year, the six-year graduation rates for participants at San Francisco State are about 6% higher than for non-program students. Officials say the program saves each student about $24,000 in college costs by reducing attrition, the time to graduation and extra credits students take that don't count toward a degree.
Metro College Success Program shows the long-term benefits of investing in college preparatory curriculum for vulnerable student populations and how it benefits students and institutions. Recruiting and supporting low-income students who are typically Pell Grant eligible is a key element of how colleges and universities are measuring diversity and inclusion on campus. Likewise, discovering the reality behind the costs of completion versus attrition for this group is making institutions reassess the way they approach recruitment and student services.
A recent study shows the importance of bridge programs for first-generation students, as most college entrants from this group are less likely to have accessed preparatory curriculum in high school, and are about 21% less likely to enroll in college immediately following graduation. The University of California System, for one, has become a national leader in how early intervention with high school students makes a difference in the college readiness and career development process for low-income enrollees.