The No Excuses Poverty Initiative is working at Amarillo College.
It is not only making sure students have all of their basic needs met but increasing their completion rates.
“We’ve moved our completion rates from the low teens to 45%, with a goal being 70% which would mean it would be the highest in the country because we listen to our students and love them profoundly,” said Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, Amarillo College’s president.
Representatives from more than 30 colleges from across the country are visiting AC to learn more about the program and the difference it has made.
The Wisconsin Hope Lab and Temple University recently did a case study on Amarillo College to point out their efforts.
“Folks at AC are spending a tremendous amount of time understanding and learning what their student’s needs are and shaping the way that they do academics, the way they do services to make sure those students have what they need so they can complete,” said Clare Cady, the Director of Research Application at Temple University’s Hope Center.
Lowery-Hart says AC is providing help when it comes to childcare, transportation, clothing, and food.
“We know to keep them in class, we sometimes have to pay a utility bill or provide clothing or food but what we have learned is when we meet that immediate need, the student success increases dramatically.”
Cady says what AC is doing is working for their students so she hopes other colleges will take what they learn today back with them.
“The hope is that people will learn something today and move in the direction of doing some more work on their campuses for their students,” added Cady.
The case study showed that within a 30 day period 54% of students surveyed had a food insecurity, 58% were housing insecure, and 28% didn’t have enough money to pay their utilities.
Faculty and staff contribute through a payroll deduction plan to the No Excuses fund to help students with those needs.