Despite high educational aspirations, students from low-income households are severely underrepresented on college campuses. While more than 80 percent of these students hope to attend college, only 20 percent will earn bachelor’s degrees by age 25. New College of Florida is working to change this trend, and the nonprofit Strive for College has taken notice.
Strive for College promotes excellence in inclusion, affordability and completion for low-income and first-generation college students, and the 2007-founded organization recently recognized New College as meeting its “Strive Five” distinctions. These data-based standards measure performance in five key areas that demonstrate a commitment to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. About one-quarter of each entering class at New College is comprised of Pell Grant recipients and approximately 60 percent of these students graduate.
“New College is committed to being as inclusive and diverse as possible, and to helping all of our students reach their full potential,” said New College President Donal O’Shea. “We are very proud to be associated with Strive for College and grateful for the ‘Strive Five’ recognition.”
The “Strive Five” categories are:
Inclusion. The college must have more than 25 percent of undergraduates that receive Pell Grants, meaning at least one in four students come from low-income families (nationally, 32 percent of undergraduates receive Pell Grants across all postsecondary institutions).
Diversity. More than 40 percent of undergraduates are black, Latino or Native American (this figure approximates the national average of undergraduates from underrepresented minority groups across all postsecondary institutions).
Affordability. The net price of the college is less than $13,500 for low-income students (about the national average for students from households with incomes of $30,000 or less who receive Title IV federal financial aid across all four-year institutions).
Completion. The college must meet or exceed the national averages for retention (more than 81 percent first-to-second-year retention rate) and graduation (more than 51 percent six-year graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients).
Outcomes. More than 25 percent of the college’s graduates come from the bottom-fifth of incomes as students and move to the top-fifth as adults (meaning the college has among the highest percentage of students who both came from lower-income families and ended up as higher-income adults).
As New College grows, it is committed to continuing to meet these five standards.
“We will continue to strive to ensure successful outcomes for all of our graduates,” O’Shea said.