Higher Education Opportunity Act Aims to Help at-Risk Students Stay in College
Jul 24, 2009
Too many students fail to complete college. In fact, six years after enrolling in two-year public colleges, nearly half (44 percent) of Pell Grant recipients do not have a credential and are no longer enrolled.
To address this issue, last year's Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) included the Student Success Grants pilot program to help at-risk students stay in college and complete courses, especially during their first year. In this pilot, every student who receives a Pell Grant would also receive a $1,500 Student Success Grant that would offset the costs to the college of providing program innovation and student services that research suggests will help students stay in and complete college. Such services include intensive advising and counseling, college and career success courses, work study jobs with private employers in the students' field of study, learning communities, curricular redesign to support blended or accelerated remediation, tutoring, and child care and transportation assistance.
The pilot is targeted at first-year students needing remedial or developmental coursework in reading, writing, or math at postsecondary institutions with at least 50 percent of such students. Student Success Grants have not yet been funded, but the program's inclusion in the HEOA indicates Congress' realization that success is as important as access.