I’ve talked before about the challenges that face new college students – from struggling with college-level course work to juggling family, work, and school. At Front Range Community College, we are dedicated to helping students accomplish their educational and career goals, and we work hard to support students however they need it.
We Keep Students in College
One of the ways we help students is through our FRCC Foundation Scholarship program. This is more than just a financial support program. The Foundation Scholarship program is a student success program, and we’re one of the only community college foundations in the country with a program like it. Our Foundation Scholarship program aims to keep scholarship recipients (we call them Scholars) on track and help them overcome problems that arise throughout their academic careers. Most importantly, we’ve structured the program to keep students in college.
Apply to Become an FRCC Foundation Scholar
Before I tell you about the genesis of this program, let me tell you that the 2014-2015 scholarship season is officially open. I encourage you to apply on our website before the application deadline of April 1. The Foundation will award $500,000 in merit-based and need-based scholarships.
A Dedicated Advisor for Foundation Scholars
In 2012, Chuck Crowe, FRCC Foundation executive director, and Ryan McCoy, assistant director, applied for and were awarded a grant from the FRCC President’s Innovation Fund, which commits money toward faculty- and staff-led projects that advance FRCC’s strategic plan, Vision 2015. The grant funded the hiring of a part-time Success Coach who works with all Foundation Scholars.
With the help of one Foundation Fellow (a student) on each campus, this Success Coach sets expectations with Foundation Scholars, works with them to develop individual career and academic plans, and helps them overcome the roadblocks that can appear during college.
Once Foundation Scholars are awarded scholarships, they sign a contract and agree to certain things. In the fall, they must attend a success conference in which the Foundation team puts on sessions about time management, budgeting, and more. They must complete midterm grade check-ins. If their grades falter, they attend tutoring sessions. Scholars are also introduced to the many FRCC learning resources and support services that can help them be successful.
The Future: A College-Wide Program
The Foundation’s Student Success program is now in its second year of this three-year pilot. In a year, we will have good data to share about the success of the program and the impact it has made on reducing the dropout rate among FRCC scholarship recipients.
Scholars Receive Support and Guidance
Anecdotally, however, it is clear that these efforts are making a difference. Our Foundation team tells me that this transformation from a scholarship program to a holistic student success program lets our FRCC Foundation Scholars know that people are behind them, cheering them on – and therefore, they’re more committed to their education. Scholars are held accountable from the moment they accept their award. They understand that donors have made an investment in their success. And if challenges arise, FRCC will not let them fail.
You can probably tell that I’m very excited about our Foundation Student Success program. I expect that one day, we will incorporate some of the facets of this program into a comprehensive, college-wide student success program. FRCC Foundation Scholars receive much more than just scholarships. They receive support, resources, and guidance to make them successful.
Learn more about the FRCC Foundation and contact the Foundation at (303) 404-5463 to learn more about this unique Student Success program.