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Grant will fund college readiness program
Dec. 9, 2011
The Community College of Rhode Island Foundation has received a grant to support a program that helps adult learners acquire the skills they need to pass General Education Development (GED) tests and persist in post-secondary education by reducing or eliminating the need to take developmental classes at the community college level.
The Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, has awarded the $100,000 grant to support the “College Now for Students Without a High School Credential” program, which was designed to increase the number of nontraditional students who enter post-secondary education and complete a certificate or degree after earning their GED credential.
In addition to learning GED readiness skills such as reading, writing and higher order math, participants in CCRI’s College Now program will take a three-credit college class called College Success to learn practical tips and strategies that will help them succeed in higher education. The course also requires students to create a personal success plan including educational and career goals and offers guidance in using CCRI’s Student Success Center and other support services.
The College Now class will meet for 12 hours each week for the 15 weeks of the fall and spring semesters at CCRI, and the GED test will be given during the college semester exam week. The coordinator, case manager, college class instructors and GED instructors will guide students in developing a cohort, or learning community, where the interpersonal relationships students form are expected to positively affect academic learning and emotional well-being and broaden their perspectives.
GED students often face challenges that far exceed those of students who complete high school. Many have excessive financial burdens, lack academic skills and have difficulty finding time to study because of their family, work and personal obligations. In addition, many are first-generation college students and have trouble navigating the higher education system.
CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale said institutions like CCRI must recognize the importance of helping these students transition to college for further learning and training. “Having a GED credential does not necessarily mean they are prepared to compete for jobs that will offer career growth or adequately support their families,” he said. “To better serve adult students, we must approach attaining a GED credential as a wonderful achievement and a gateway to post-secondary education – a beginning rather than an end.”
The College Now program was piloted successfully during the 2011 fiscal year. Of the 39 students who began the program, 26 attained their GED credential. About 70 percent of students tested into the last level or tested out of developmental education classes at CCRI and 65 percent of program graduates are enrolled in classes at CCRI or a trade school.
“The strategies that future students learn in College Now as a result of this generous grant will yield a strengthened learning community and will help drive students’ success as they work toward a degree or complete a certificate program,” Di Pasquale said.
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