Education

College social life of community college students

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As part of a new project that began this fall, students studying at Nassau Community College on Long Island, New York will be able to participate in campus life at the neighboring four-year university, Adelphi University. Students can live in Adelphi and participate in campus activities, while studying courses in Nassau, and then transfer to university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Most community colleges do not have on-campus housing, and students often have fewer opportunities to go to and from class, and they cannot touch the typical characteristics of campus life: social activities, student clubs, catering services, sports events, and so on.

Kristen Capezza, Adelphi’s vice president of admissions management, said: “Many students who started at community college worry that they will miss four years of learning.” Adelphi has been accepting transfers from Nassau Community College for many years, but last year In the fall, the campus administrators of these two institutions asked themselves: “Can we do something to enhance their experience and immerse them in the community so that they feel like they’ve been part of the community from the beginning-when they are in When Nassau completes their course and then moves to Adelphi, will this allow them to have a more seamless transition?”

The Nassau-Adelphi Gateway project is their answer.

As part of this program, approximately 30 Nassau Community College students will be able to live on the Adelphi campus and take the three-mile shuttle between the two institutions to participate in their courses. Students who choose not to live on campus can still sign up for meal plans, participate in university activities, and participate in all other aspects of campus life.

The principal of Nassau Community College, Jermaine F. Williams, stated that the program provides students with “the real best of both worlds: the high-quality and affordable education provided by Nassau Community College, and the opportunity to experience extracurricular activities for outstanding four people”. “

Once students in Nassau receive an associate degree, they can transfer to Adelphi if they meet all general education requirements. The consultants of the community college and members of the Adelphi transfer student success team will guide students through the transfer process, and all applications and deposits will be waived.

Williams said that creating a smoother path for students to earn a bachelor’s degree is in line with Nassau’s mission as a Hispanic service organization, where approximately one-third of students are Latino and one-fifth are black. He believes that the model can help retain students of color and increase their college graduation rate.

The plan is rooted in the idea of ​​“helping students determine an academic path that can be converted to sophomores, and providing early participation opportunities in receiving institutions, which will increase our students’ completion and success after completion, and reduce Fairness gap,” he said. “This is indeed one of the foundations of this partnership.”

Capezza said another goal of the program is to help Nassau Community College increase enrollment. During the pandemic, as courses moved online and students struggled with the financial challenges of the recession, enrollment at community colleges across the country dropped sharply. Enrollment at Nassau Community College dropped from 16,650 students in the fall of 2019 to 13,864 students in the fall of 2020, a drop of nearly 16.7%.

“We started brainstorming with them – how can we help community colleges to re-attract and re-enroll students in a way that is beneficial to students, to be next to them in a way that puts students first and ensures that they have a supportive framework?” Capeza said.

During the pandemic, Adelphi’s undergraduate enrollment also dropped from 5,360 in the fall of 2019 to 5,124 in the fall of 2020. Capeza said that because of the plan, she expects Adelphi’s transfer number to increase within two years.

Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh also began working with community colleges this fall to provide housing options. Students from four community colleges in the region can earn up to 12 credits at the university while pursuing an associate degree—calculated based on the tuition of the community college. Participants with good academic status are also eligible for scholarships ranging from US$3,000 to US$12,000 per year. Community college students can also participate in campus activities before transferring and live in the Robert Morris dormitory.

So far this fall, only a “few” students have chosen to live on campus, “but this is the beginning,” said Robert Morris president Chris Howard. He said that community college students who do not live on campus are still welcome and encouraged to participate in the social life of the university.

“We want them to participate in social events, sports events, and dine in catering facilities. We want them to be immersed in their own world… It aims to be an ecosystem that supports all these people. Whether they live on campus or not, we I hope they feel like part of the family from the beginning.”

Karen Stout, president and CEO of the non-profit organization Achieving the Dream, stated that articulation agreements and dual admission programs between community colleges and four-year colleges have proliferated in the past decade, including allowing community college students to use certain university facilities The transfer pathway organization focuses on the success of community college students. However, the residential part “makes participation further and deeper.”

She pointed out Claim Because campus-based housing is becoming more and more among college students in the community, these partnerships can benefit them and help universities fill empty dormitory spaces.

She said that adding housing options to these partnerships is “a natural evolution.” “You will see more and more of this kind of shared, mixed choice, because these institutions not only meet the needs of students, but also meet more dynamic business needs.”

If this is a trend, then it is not yet fully mature. Capeza said that she rarely sees projects that provide college campus accommodation for community college students.

“We actually think this is one of the most unique models,” she said.

Binghamton University and the State University of New York Bloom Community College are both part of the State University of New York system, and they are early adopters of a cooperative model with a housing component. The Binghamton Advantage program began in the fall of 2011. A total of 39 students from the State University of New York at Bloom are living on the Binghamton campus and are preparing to transfer. Now more than 200 students enter the program every year.

Of the 1,628 students who participated in the program in the past ten years, approximately 80% (1,327 students in total) attended Binghamton. Binghamton’s vice president of student affairs, Brian Rose, said their completion rate is comparable to the university’s overall completion rate.

“We believe, and I think the history of the program proves, [living on campus] It will provide additional motivation,” he said. “I think that having successful students around me and wanting to be a member of the community are all factors that make more students successful. “

Ross added that while he believes the plan has been a success, implementing Binghamton Advantage has also brought challenges. When students attend classes on one campus and live on another campus, they do not necessarily know which institution is responsible for which support. Over time, college and university staff must meet regularly to resolve “details.”

He encouraged other universities to explore these housing partnerships, but “my advice is that there are a lot of demons in the details,” he said. “Pay attention to ensure that there is continuous communication and coordination between these institutions to deal with all these things-you have to invest.”

Ross believes that Binghamton’s investment has paid off. He said that the model has brought expected benefits, such as providing a group of potential new students for SUNY Broome, but it also brings an unforeseen advantage: it lays the foundation for the continued relationship between the two institutions. Because the work of campus leaders is so close together. For example, managers are currently discussing potential partnerships. International students can study in Binghamton but study English as a second language course at a community college.

“This is an important benefit, and I don’t think any of us have to be sure at the front end,” he said. “But we all value it now.”

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