Big Bend Wins Funding for Connect2Complete, Degree Completion is the Goal

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For Immediate Release

November 17, 2011

Contact: Doug Sly


Big Bend Wins Funding for Connect2Complete, Degree Completion is the Goal

Big Bend Community College is one of nine colleges nationwide to receive funding to develop a model to help students persist in school through graduation.

Boston-based Campus Compact received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch Connect2Complete (C2C)—and BBCC is one of the beneficiaries.

The two-year, $175,000 grant will be used to develop a replicable model that will cost-effectively improve student success, said BBCC President Bill Bonaudi.

“While meeting this goal won’t offset the drastic cuts in state funding, it will allow the college to be more successful in meeting the needs of the students we serve,” said BBCC President Bill Bonaudi.

“C2C will develop strategies that can be adopted at community colleges across the nation to help students achieve the goal of graduation—so valued by them and their families,” said Campus Compact President Maureen F. Curley.

Campus Compact used a competitive process to select the states of Washington, Florida and Ohio to receive the C2C grants. Three community colleges from each state were selected to pilot the program. Edmonds Community College and Green River Community College are the other two Washington colleges to received C2C funding.

 The program will mobilize peer advocates to support students enrolled in developmental education courses, Curley said.

BBCC’s model will address college completion barriers for rural students, many of them “first generation” students–meaning no one from their family has attended college, according to Terry Kinzel, administrator for C2C grant at BBCC. Edmonds and Green River will develop models addressing completion barriers for urban and suburban students, she said.

BBCC student leaders were on board before the grant was announced. BBCC honors society members held a “signing event” on Oct. 27, asking students to sign a statement in support of completion and attainment of college degrees. The event was held on behalf of the Community College Completion Corps (C4).

“Making a commitment to completing a degree is good not only for students, but for colleges and the communities they serve,” said Halden Keen, President of BBCC’s Rho Zeta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honors society.

The project will define best practices to increase students’ persistence toward completing a degree or certificate. Peer advocates will work with faculty to support students in goal setting, connecting to college life, navigating college systems, and linking to college services designed to help them complete their program of study.

Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of nearly 1,200 college and university presidents– representing more than 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

Education pays … Education pays in higher earnings and lower unemployment rates