Federal funding must fuel college completion, not just access

Debate Over President Biden’s Proposal allow about $500 billion A student loan debt case has been brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. The administration has defended its plans against two legal challenges, and the court expects: decide by June Because the debt of millions of borrowers is left outstanding.

The country’s arrival at a time like this, with national dialogue around the issue becoming more intense and partisan, suggests serious challenges in higher education. For too many learners, college doesn’t pay off.

current tuition about 40 times higher than when the first federal loans were introduced in 1958. 45 million borrowers now have a total debt of $1.6 trillion with student loan debt. The United States has made dramatic progress in expanding access to higher education as costs rise. From the GI bill to the Pell subsidy, federal funding has been critical to these efforts. But it turns out that access is only part of the equation. Enabling someone to pay for college means little if we don’t stop investing in access to college with the support and scaffolding that helps students graduate.

a amazing numbers Percentage of learners who do not complete a degree. For example, the federal government spends billions of dollars each year to provide aid to eight million students through the Pell Grant Program. Only Half of Pell Recipients Must graduate within 6 years.Nearly 40% of student loan borrowers never graduated, leading to higher default rates for those with college loans without a degree. 3 times higher as a graduate.

We will shift the federal government’s role toward college completion and invest in proven ways to help more students not only enroll in college, but graduate with a degree. Needed funding should be provided for higher education.

Universities are already committed to making better use of the limited federal resources they have access to, providing students with vital assistance beyond tuition to meet their housing, transportation, food, and childcare needs. increase. Many universities take advantage of government-provided funding. Access to childcare facilities means parents go to school For example, programs that help students’ parents pay for child care.

Institutions are also using federal funding to enhance academic support. Illinois Central College (ICC) is committed to improving student retention, which makes up her quarter of high school seniors graduating in the area. Inspired by a 2013 study that showed student success coaching increased persistence and graduation rates, the ICC redesigned its academic advisory service, Nonprofit InsideTrack Create a direct coaching program. Just one year later, the university has seen the following changes: 18% higher retention rate Among the students who received coaching Among African Americans and part-time learners, the results were even stronger. 33 percent increase vs. 23 percent increase, Each. This program received the following funding: Title III Enhanced Institutional Grant.

The ICC isn’t the only one using federal funds to boost retention.Wallace State Community College in Alabama used the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Coordination Support Community College and Career Training Provide grants to create and maintain coaching programs, resulting in: 17% boost Holding. The continued success of the program led to his unusual fourth year of funding.

Waubonese Community College Leveraged the U.S. Department of Education to Support Latinos and Adult Learners Title V Developing Hispanic Service Agencies Through our trainer certifications, we fund the success of this student population.

Meanwhile, the City University of New York used $5 million allocated through the federal government. Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, its substantial expansion mental health services. The 18 campuses of the City University of New York will be able to increase the clinical staff in health and wellness centers, purchase technology to deliver counseling services online, and train and certify 120 counselors to provide teletherapy. I made it.

At Clark State University, a community college in Ohio, students: Higher Education Emergency Assistance Fund (HEERF) helps cover basic needs such as food, books and housing. Not only has the grant helped learners to continue their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Contributed to improving the completion rate 4% increase for students of color.

While these achievements are certainly laudable, they also highlight the ongoing challenge of securing and maintaining funding for universities working to create and scale such initiatives. Many federal grants received by institutions are finite in nature. And as the immediate public health emergency from COVID-19 subsides, so will pandemic-era funding such as the Cares Act and his HEERF.

Higher education needs more consistent and substantial federal funding flows that support evidence-based practices that have the greatest impact on student achievement. Too few institutions currently have access to this type of funding. Many universities lack the funding and capacity to pursue scarce funding. So the universities with the fewest resources are also the ones least likely to get the support you need. The federal government should not only provide more money, but also address the unfair ways that money is distributed.

With federal funding, the university has made great strides in expanding access to higher education and opening doors of opportunity to millions of students from increasingly diverse backgrounds. Educational institutions now need the same level of support to ensure that higher education works for individual learners and for nations as a whole.

Yolanda Watson-Spiva is president of Complete College America.

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