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An Introduction to RI's College Access and Persistence Programs

Essential Question:
What do we know about historically underserved populations on RI public college campuses and recent efforts to support them?

To improve higher education degree completion rates, the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RIOPC) has launched three new programs that partner with existing college access efforts. To view a presentation of the highlights of this story, click here.

Introduction: RI's public colleges expand efforts to retain "historically underserved" students

Nationally, as in Rhode Island, certain groups of students have been disproportionately under-represented on college campuses. Minority youth, students with special needs and especially those who've been raised in poverty find that college is out of reach for them.

Therefore Access and Persistence Programs have emerged and evolved. They help students gain access to college by supporting stronger guidance counseling and mentoring during the K-12 school years, demystifying the tangle of college applications and financial forms, and more. Once the student has gained access, these programs help students receive comprehensive services to help students persist, to weather the challenges to academic success, until they have a college diploma in hand.

This story examines the new programs that RI's three public colleges have recently implemented, building on existing efforts. While they're new, are they beginning to have a positive impact? If so, what seems to be working?

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