Community college graduation rates nationwide are tragic. We started asking why and then we figured out how to fix it.
We partnered with the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame to create Stay the Course (STC), a research project to evaluate how case management can help low-income students persist in school and ultimately graduate, equipping them with credentials that increase earning power.
Money is only ¼ of the problem. Nonacademic personal obstacles, social and institutional obstacles, and academic preparation are the other barriers. That’s where we fit in- to capture and support some of the non-academic obstacles to success.
We believe that human capital plays a bigger role than financial capital.
Each student is paired with a Navigator who provides them what we call “supercharged” case management: holistic, wrap-around services that launch from a place of believing in our students’ capability to reach their goals.
Our approach is individualized and relationship-based, so each Navigator-student relationship looks different. For one student, that might look like phone calls to check-in every other day, or walking with them between classes. For another, it might look like paying for a car repair, a smoking cessation program, or helping source safe and affordable childcare.
of Texas undergraduate students
attend school part time
By 2020 54% of Texas jobs
will require education beyond high school.
When paired with a case manager, students increase their success of graduating at a rate 4x higher than those who don’t receive our services. What’s more, thirty-five percent of female Stay the Course students graduated three years after enrollment compared to less than 1% in the comparison group.
In the next two years, we will have replicated Stay the Course as a local solution to a national problem in five other cities across the nation. Next up, we’re planning to test taking students past community college graduation into middle skills positions and out of poverty for good.