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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Report: How colleges can re-enroll students who’ve stopped out

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Wednesday, February 28, 2024   

More than 6 million Californians stopped out of college before getting a degree and a new report has laid out a plan to bring them back on campus.

Researchers from the nonprofit California Competes in Oakland interviewed more than 50 students they call "comebackers" for the report, entitled "From Setback to Success: Meeting Comebacker Students Where They Are."

Laura Bernhard, senior researcher for California Competes, noted students said when it comes to outreach, an encouraging personal call from the school is much more effective than a form letter or email.

"Some of them just said, 'If someone had just reached out and assured me that this taking a break is fine,' and sort of outline what steps they need to do to be able to come back," Bernhard reported. "So that would have been very helpful."

The report also praised such schools as Shasta College and Sacramento State, which have flexible options where classes can be taken online, or in compressed eight-week terms rather than the typical 16-week term. The schools and California Competes are part of a collaborative called California Attain!, which aims to increase educational attainment and economic mobility of California adults who have some college but no credential.

Bernhard noted students are often hesitant to return because they cannot afford to pay back fees or fines they may have racked up in the past.

"Research has shown that if you actually waive some of these fees and institutional debt that students have, more students are likely to return," Bernhard emphasized. "That will obviously lead to more tuition income, so it can actually be like a very beneficial initiative for colleges to take."

Schools are encouraged to make their marketing materials show students of all ages, not just recent high school graduates. The report advised schools to reframe their language around academic probation, letting students know it is just a temporary setback, not a reason to get discouraged.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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