A study is underway at Lake Michigan College to determine how faculty and support staff could help ensure students adjust to college life in order to succeed. LMC VP of Student Services Barbara Craig tells WSJM News the college has a fall-to-fall retention rate of about 50%, and the goal is to get it to 63%. Retention is a problem for community colleges nationally, and LMC is using a federal Title III grant to examine the issue.
“Because of our mandate to make sure that we serve absolutely everyone, our students are more at risk of not making it through, and the research that we’re doing now — the study that we’re part of with Title III — isn’t so much about students just leaving for academic reasons, but for all of those non-cognitive reasons that they leave,” Craig said.
Craig says there are a variety of reasons why a college student might drop out, from financial problems to understanding how to study. LMC aims to put a system in place that enables faculty to catch when a student falls behind.
“It isn’t so much about keeping students, it’s about making sure that they’re on the right track to being successful,” Craid said.
A federal Title III grant is paying for the study over five years. Craig says colleges have traditionally helped to ensure students can afford to enroll, but not gone far enough beyond that to help them stay on the right path.