Report examines implementation of initiative that is expanding and better targeting and customizing student service. Report says that making college-wide changes, increasing faculty engagement are key hurdles.
PORTERVILLE, CA, February 13, 2018— A new study conducted by the research organization DVP-Praxis and supported by five major national foundations provides a clear look at institutions that are part of the Working Students Success Network (WSSN). Porterville College is one of the nineteen participating colleges in four states (AR, CA, WA, VA) working with the national college reform organization Achieving the Dream (ATD) to give tens of thousands of low-income students the best possible chance to succeed in college and beyond.
WSSN offers a cohesive suite of services that help students address barriers to student success, and strengthen academic and job skills and opportunities leading to careers that pay a living wage and to the financial stability of students and their families. Specifically, WSSN provides students access to income supports by tapping into available public benefits and other resources that address basic needs and financial insecurities. Students receive information, coaching, and training to make informed financial decisions about budgeting, financial aid, and debt and money management, as well as to learn about banking services such as checking and savings accounts, and credit cards.
“The WSSN initiative has served as a catalyst for campuses to re-imagine how to organize and deliver services in a student-centered way, meeting their students where they are and creating an institutional culture in which the whole campus contributes,” says Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “If the United States is going to meet its future workforce needs, we need to improve the ability of our institutions to retain and graduate a greater percentage of students who enroll. Critical to that mission will be to help community colleges work with students who have the greatest challenges to overcome as they pursue a college credential.”
“The research provides some lessons on how colleges can advance the student success movement to address academic and financial security needs,” says Rosa Maria Casteneda, senior associate for family economic success at the Annie Casey Foundation, which funded the $12.5 million initiative along with the W.K. Kellogg, Kresge, Lumina and MetLife Foundations, with seed funding provided by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. ”The study points the way to more effective implementation that can be further institutionalized within these colleges and spread to other institutions that need to learn how to develop system-wide approaches to serve large numbers of students.”
“Porterville College’s work with the WSSN initiative and ATD from October 2015 to June 2017 has aided in integrating services that address a broad spectrum of students’ needs. PC has developed synergies to assist students transcend barriers that might impede their success in college”, said Bill Henry, Interim Porterville College President.
PC received the national honor of being designated as a Leader College in the ATD National Network resulting from the steady improvement in measured student success outcomes. The WSSN study also identified strategies that have helped institutions engage in the cultural change required to provide comprehensive supports in new ways. In the near future, funders will release a quantitative study identifying changes in student persistence and completion in the immediate term; however, the full impact on the students served may not be seen for several years.
About Porterville College
Porterville College, established in 1927, is in the city of Porterville and is a part of the Kern Community College District. The 60-acre campus enrolls more than 4,000 students each semester. In the San Joaquin Valley, the college is closely linked to its local agricultural community and has developed internships and work-study programs to allow students to acquire practical knowledge of the industry.
About the Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree.
A Campus of Kern Community College District
For more information, Porterville College contact:
Name: Diane Thompson
Title: Student Services Director
Phone: (559) 791-2278