College System Neglects Potential of Dropout Students, Urges Reforms for Returnees' Success, Study Reveals


A recent study sheds light on the overlooked potential of students who leave college without completing their degrees, urging colleges to reassess their approach to supporting these "comebacker" students.

Conducted by California Competes, a nonpartisan policy and research organization, the study uncovers the obstacles these students face when attempting to return to college and offers recommendations to facilitate their successful re-enrollment.

(Photo : UNSPLASH / Sincerely Media)

Obstacles to Return

The study, titled "From Setback to Success: Meeting Comebacker Students Where They Are," highlights various challenges that hinder students' efforts to resume their college education. Issues such as overdue library fines, parking fees, and complicated re-enrollment procedures can create significant barriers for students seeking to return to college. Financial aid disqualification due to past poor grades and the struggle to balance familial responsibilities with academic pursuits further compound these challenges.

READ ALSO: US Universities' Struggle To Support Dropout Students

Moreover, the stigma associated with academic probation and the lack of targeted support for struggling students can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and discourage them from pursuing their educational goals. Many students reported feeling abandoned by the institution after experiencing setbacks, highlighting the need for a more supportive and inclusive campus environment.

Untapped Potential and Economic Implications

Despite the substantial number of Californians who have attended college without completing their degrees, their potential contributions to both personal and state economies often go unrecognized. Many of these "comebacker" students possess valuable skills and work experience that can enrich the college environment and contribute to workforce development. Overlooking these individuals not only deprives them of opportunities for personal advancement but also hampers the state's economic growth potential.

By harnessing the talent and expertise of non-completers, colleges can create a more diverse and dynamic learning environment that better prepares students for success in today's rapidly evolving job market. Additionally, empowering non-completers to complete their degrees can lead to higher earning potential and greater economic mobility, benefiting both individuals and communities.

Redefining Perspectives and Offering Support

The study advocates for a shift in perspective regarding non-completers, emphasizing the diverse skills and experiences they bring to the table. Instead of focusing solely on academic deficiencies, colleges should recognize and leverage the strengths these students possess.

Moreover, offering more flexible class schedules, providing academic support tailored to their needs, and reframing language surrounding academic probation can help create a more supportive environment for non-completers seeking to return to college. By addressing systemic barriers and fostering a culture of inclusivity, colleges can empower non-completers to overcome obstacles and achieve their educational goals.

Addressing Systemic Barriers

Addressing systemic barriers, such as inflexible academic calendars and financial aid policies, is crucial to facilitating the successful re-entry of non-completers into higher education. By restructuring academic calendars to offer shorter, more frequent classes and providing targeted support services, colleges can better accommodate the needs of non-traditional students.

Moreover, advocating for policy changes at the state level to address issues such as financial aid eligibility can further enhance opportunities for non-completers to complete their degrees. By removing bureaucratic hurdles and expanding access to resources, colleges can create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment that empowers all students to succeed.

Looking Ahead

As California's community colleges continue to navigate the challenges stemming from the pandemic, it is essential to prioritize the re-engagement of non-completers in higher education. By recognizing the untapped potential of these individuals and implementing strategies to support their re-entry into college, California can work towards achieving its broader goals of educational equity and economic prosperity.

Ultimately, ensuring that marginalized individuals have access to and complete college degrees is essential for the state's long-term success and resilience in addressing critical societal issues. By investing in the success of non-completers, colleges can unlock a wealth of talent and potential that will benefit individuals, communities, and the state as a whole.

RELATED ARTICLE: Working Class Students 'Dropout' From College And Money Is Just One Of The Reasons

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics