Equity in Design for HSS: Supporting the Success of Students Enrolled Part-Time

A SERIES OF FOUR BRIEFS EXAMINING THE SUPPORT NEEDS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT POPULATIONS: EQUITY IN DESIGN FOR HOLISTIC STUDENT SUPPORTS

Part-Time Students Need Full-Time Support.

As with other student populations community colleges serve, part-time students often face multiple challenges that present additional barriers to completion, including unfamiliarity with the college experience, parenthood, and food and housing insecurity.

Community colleges have historically opened their doors to all those interested in pursuing higher education, but even as their student populations have changed, too many of their structures are still built around serving the “traditional” college student—the first-time, full-time 18-year-old who is now a distinct minority on today’s campuses.

Given that they represent the majority of their student populations, improving outcomes for part-time students is vital for institutions to meet their goals of improving equity in outcomes and the broader economic imperative of increasing overall postsecondary attainment. And while many institutions have made efforts to encourage more part-time students to shift to full-time status, the reality of students’ lives means that this can only be a limited part of the solution, particularly since part-time enrollment growth is projected to outpace that of full-time students through much of this decade.

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