Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: There IS help to succeed in college!

Today, the Community College of Vermont is participating in Blog Action Day 2008. This annual nonprofit event aims to unite people around the world on one issue on the same day. This year's topic is poverty. Messages from several members of the CCV community will be posted here throughout the day. The following post is submitted by Mel Donovan, CCV’s Director of Student Support Services.

There IS help to succeed in college!

Students living in poverty, or even moderate income levels, face multiple barriers in taking advantage of educational opportunities. These students most likely hold down not one but two, three, or even four jobs in order to make ends meet. They often have children and other family members depending on them for basic needs. Finding trustworthy, consistent, childcare can be difficult in the best of circumstances. Transportation is a car that often needs repair or public transportation with an inflexible schedule. The dependability of a new car is more than offset by the loan debt, especially when fuel prices are added to monthly payments. Housing, food, fuel, and medical care also compete for any available income.

So how can financially strapped students pay for tuition, get to every class (and on time), find the time not only for classes but also for homework, find someone to watch the kids, and manage to pay for textbooks? Community colleges traditionally serve students from all economic backgrounds but are especially structured to serve low income students.

The Community College of Vermont (CCV) has flexibility built in: classes meet only once a week, days, evenings, and weekends; many are offered online. Tutoring and other crucial services are offered at the sites and online. Degree programs can be tailored to meet student interests. But best of all, CCV has financial aid advisors and academic advisors to help strategize ways to overcome each student’s particular set of obstacles.

CCV also offers the TRIO Student Support Services Program. This federally funded program is designed to help students from moderate income succeed in meeting their educational goals. Each year, 200 students receive academic services, leadership and cultural opportunities, as well as close advising relationships thanks to TRIO funding. Beyond serving these 200 students directly, TRiO works to help CCV address barriers to educational attainment for all students.

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