Connecticut’s Office of Higher Education (OHE) awarded NVCC a $75,000 grant, the maximum amount possible, as part of its Minority Advancement Program (MAP). MAP, which was created in 1983 in state statute, was originally intended to help Connecticut colleges and universities recruit, enroll, and retain minority students. Currently, the focus has shifted to improving the retention and graduation rates of minority students at the State’s colleges and universities. Recent trends in completion outcomes for NVCC students who identify as "non-white" are a significant reason why the college was selected for the grant. A 2013 cohort of students who identified as non-white at NVCC showed a 10% graduation rate within three years. A 2014 cohort had a graduation rate of 12% within three years, showing a 2 percentage point increase in completions.
A new initiative called Promoting Academically Successful Students, or PASS, is a new MAP initiative and will be instituted at NVCC with the awarded grant monies during the Spring 2019 semester. The PASS program will help 50 degree-seeking students of color at NVCC, who are on academic probation, to transition off and remain on track to graduate. The cohort of students involved in this program at NVCC will receive mandatory tutoring and participate in development workshops that cultivate student success. These workshops will include presentations and trainings on skills such as note-taking, time management, self-advocacy, and an introduction to the resources available at the college. PASS students will also participate in weekly academic coaching sessions, as well as individual advising and counseling that will facilitate the identification of barriers preventing each student from getting off of academic probation. The students will work with counselors to assist with removing these barriers. These sessions will be used to map out a path to academic success and graduation.
NVCC had a total enrollment in the Fall 2017 semester of 6,254 students with a 53% minority enrollment. The total students on academic probation were 273 of which 51% were students of color. Twenty-three percent of the minority students put on academic probation in the 2017 fall semester persisted and reenrolled for the 2018 spring semester demonstrating a significant need to provide enhanced services to stimulate persistence students of color. With the grant money, NVCC will be hiring four part-time coaches to supplement counselors, administrators, and staff from various offices and departments who will be involved in running the inaugural pilot program during the spring semester. NVCC’s Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) will be the hub for the PASS program and will assign PASS program students a designated team that includes a counselor and academic coach.
NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. said, “NVCC is looking forward to providing additional support to 50 students as we continue the transformational work needed to support the communities we serve.”