Educational researchers have devoted a great deal of attention to answering the question of why so many college students are unable to persist in higher education. Competing obligations, including family and work responsibilities, present a challenge: students who support children or other dependents often will prioritize a job over school. Another factor is how ready the student is for college-level academic work: those in need of remedial courses are statistically far less likely to earn a credential or degree. Unfortunately, almost 60 percent of community college students require at least one such course. The absence of strong personal connections - with instructors, advisors or fellow students - is regarded as yet another reason why students leave school before completion.
BIRDS battles to improve community college persistence and graduation. A focus at the high school level, where junior students who take college placement exams gain a better sense - often in the form of a wake-up call - of where their skills are and where they will need to be if they are to earn a college degree. They also call for expanding dual enrollment in which college students can earn. Achieving the dream, a initiative of educational and philanthropic stakeholders that conducts advocacy and research to help community college students succeed.