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Gateway One of Seven Colleges to Pilot Benefit Access Program


Gateway Community and Technical College is one of only seven community and technical colleges in the nation to pilot an innovative program designed to increase the number of students who earn postsecondary credentials.

“Benefits Access for College Completion” (BACC) is a two-year initiative that will test whether connecting low-income students to an array of public benefits will help them stay in school longer and complete their studies faster. The goal of the privately funded program is to help students overcome obstacles in their personal lives that may prevent them from completing college.

Gateway will receive $300,000 of the total $4.8 million to be shared by recipient colleges. Gateway has created an individualized plan to integrate screening and application assistance for public benefits with existing student services and supports. The college also is partnering with local and state human services agencies to better provide integrated services.

More than half of Gateway students receive some sort of federal, state, and/or local grant aid to assist them in attending college. A substantial number may be eligible for BACC coordination that can connect them to federal community-based programs, including food aid and health insurance, which help keep them in school.

“The idea is to help students complete their studies swiftly and successfully so they can move into jobs that provide family-sustaining wages,” said Shellie Baker, coordinator of student success and engagement and the grant’s principal administrator. “That means they will be less likely to need income support in the future.”

The two-year initiative is supported by the Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) will work with the colleges to provide technical assistance and resources.

Other colleges selected for the BACC pilot phase are Cuyahoga Community College (OH), LaGuardia Community College (NY), Lake Michigan College and Macomb Community College (MI), Northampton Community College (PA), and Skyline College (CA).

Gateway students interested in learning more should contact Sarah Young, 859-442-1639, or [email protected].
Source: Gateway Community & Technical College

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