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The Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program

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  1. The Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program A Multi-Institutional Partnership Fostering College Transition, Retention, Graduation and Transfer of At-Risk Students

  2. Pathway Program Genesis • Four-year institutions in Virginia are increasingly competitive; more traditional-aged students enrolling in community colleges with goal to transfer • Many high school students who declare their intent to attend Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) are not successfully enrolling • The sub-population of students in Northern VA who are underrepresented in higher education continues to grow rapidly, even as regional population growth stabilizes

  3. A Consortium Is Born • Spring 2004: NOVA partners with George Mason University, Fairfax Co. Schools and Loudoun Co. Schools • Key Concern: how to increase the pipeline of underrepresented students achieving a bachelor’s degree in Northern Virginia • Shared cost, shared responsibility model developed to focus on second tier students • Program charter approved in Fall 2005 • Program initiated in 14 high schools in Fall 2005

  4. Current Pathway Program Partnership

  5. Student Application Process • Program is presented to full senior class at participating high schools • School counselors and faculty/staff refer students • Students hand write two page application form; submit to school counselor • Counselor completes recommendation form; submits packet to Pathway Counselor • Program representatives review applications and select participants

  6. Pathway Student Selection Criteria • Strongly considering community college • Long-term goal to complete bachelor’s degree • Strong post-secondary academic potential • Desire and focus toward future academic achievement • Appropriate attendance and behavioral conduct • Potential barriers to future academic success

  7. Pathway Student Data • 85% of applicants are selected to participate • High School GPA Range: 0.5-4.1 • Median GPA (HS): 2.50 • 35% of students completed college-level coursework while enrolled in high school • 55% of students completed Tech Prep or Vocational/Technical courses in high school • 36% receive Free or Reduced Lunch • 46% of FAFSA-filers are within 150% of Federal Poverty Level

  8. At-Risk Population 93% of Pathway students meet one or more US Department of Education criteria known to adversely affect academic persistence in college: • Immigrant or child of immigrant parents • Member of a minority group • Low income or single parent household • First generation college student • Presence of a disability • Ward of the state

  9. Regional vs. Program Demographics

  10. The Pathway to the Baccalaureate Model Student Development Counseling Services Learning Community Financial Support

  11. US DOED Barriers to College • Academic • Social • Informational • Complexity • Financial Pathway interventions are designed to target all barriers as identified by US DOED.

  12. Key Program Interventions • High school services provided on-site during regular school hours • True one-stop, case management model for student services • Financial aid training and $310,000 in program-specific grants and scholarships • Learning community/cohort-building model beginning in high school • Placement test preparation and fast-track remediation • Continuous investment by all participating institutions in student success

  13. Pathway Transition Program • Transition Counselors rotate on-site at 4-5 high schools per week , 42 weeks per year • High school seniors meet regularly with Counselor to address academic, career, financial aid, disability and other transition issues • Monthly workshops on transition planning, including sessions on Placement Test Preparation and Financial Aid • Outreach and advocacy of post-secondary education to students, family members, and the larger community

  14. Pathway Transition Program • Placement testing, academic advising and early course registration occur on-site at high schools • Counselors are liaisons to NVCC offices; verify that required documentation has been submitted to the college • Transition Counselors work on-campus in July and August (funded by NVCC) • Branch of NSO specifically for Pathway students

  15. Retention/Transfer Program • Learning Community courses, workshops and events at NVCC and Mason • Retention Counselors dedicated to program participants • Mandatory academic advising each semester • Required participation in Student Development programming and campus life • Early Alert Program: mid-semester progress

  16. Retention/Transfer Program • Access to selected academic, athletic, social, and cultural activities at Mason • Personalized assistance with each step of transfer process • Guest Matriculation at Mason while completing a NVCC degree • Early Admission to Mason with a 3.0+ GPA • Guaranteed Admission to George Mason with 2.50+ GPA and a completed Associate in Arts or Sciences Degree

  17. Retention Program at Mason • Continued academic monitoring by NVCC and Mason officials • Comprehensive orientations for transfer students • Mason campus liaison • Cohort meetings, workshops, and events for Mason degree candidates • Priority review for Mason financial aid

  18. Identifying Institutional Barriers Case Management allows Counselors to experience the college from student’s perspective. • VCCS Application/Domicile • Financial Aid Process • Placement Testing • Counseling/Faculty Advising • Internal College Communications & Red Tape • Student Communication Barriers

  19. Pathway Program Kickoff Celebration January 31, 2009 George Mason University

  20. Program Assessment Data • 84% of cohorts 1-4 successfully transitioned from high school to higher education (National Average: 63% in 12 years)* • 98% of students earn college credit in the first year (National Average: 47% in 12 years)* • First to second semester retention rate for cohorts 1-4: 90% (NVCC average: 77%) • Year-to-year retention rate for cohorts 1-3: 81% (NVCC average: 65%) * US Department of Education, “College Transition Programs: Promoting Success Beyond High School”

  21. Program Assessment Data • 70% of students in good academic standing after the first semester (Average among similar control groups: 40-50%)* • 66% of deferral and “stop-out” students enroll or re-enroll within one year • Financial Aid participation rate is double the NVCC average • Three year NVCC graduation rate is 8% higher than general college graduation rate • 65% of students have not participated in other college access programs * Lumina Foundation, “May 2004 Newsletter”

  22. 2009-10 Pathway Program • 3600 students in five cohorts • 1700 high school students from Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County and Alexandria City, VA • Approximately 1900 students currently enrolled at NVCC and Mason (Cohorts 1-4) • Cohort 1 students are now in fourth year of college at NVCC, George Mason, or another transfer institution

  23. Current Pathway Funding Model • School systems and NVCC jointly fund the Pathway Program, with minimal grant support • Cost of program to district is based upon number of schools and students served • Each transition counselor serves 330+ high school students • Each retention counselor serves 500-600 college students • High schools selected at discretion of school system based on funding and need

  24. Future Initiatives • STEM-focused Pathway initiative to launch in 3 school systems in Fall 2010 • Health Careers Pathway initiative under development in collaboration with INOVA Health Systems • Region IV replication/expansion initiative of 20+ school systems, NVCC, Germanna, Lord Fairfax and Blue Ridge community colleges and additional university partners in early stages • Increased focus on internship, co-op and mentoring

  25. Pathway Accolades • Winner: 2009 Excellence in Education Award for Community Colleges, Virginia Tech • Finalist: Examples of Excelencia, Excelencia in Education Foundation • Finalist: 2010 Excellence in Education Award, Virginia Community College System • New America Foundation Case Study • Congressional Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance • Invitations by CollegeBoard, National College Access Network, NISOD, and others