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CFES hosts college persistence summit

Melissa Garcia Velez, left, and Angel Acosta, right, will participate in a PBS broadcast Sept. 28 (pictured with Jhaneil Jump and Andy Ng).

Melissa Garcia Velez, left, and Angel Acosta, right, will participate in a PBS broadcast Sept. 28 (pictured with Jhaneil Jump and Andy Ng).

— College for Every Student (CFES) held a day-long summit that focused on the challenge of staying in college for low-income students June 6.

“It pulls college professionals together to focus on solutions and the key to college persistence,” CFES Director of Persistence Emily Lewis stated about the summit.

Called the College Persistence Summit, the local CFES brought together heads of colleges and universities from across the nation to address, discuss and listen to what exactly causes challenges that might increase the chances for students to drop out of college. The idea behind bringing the college professionals together was centered on the focus of solutions to rise above the challenges a student faces while in their college career.

CFES boasts a 96 percent success rate for graduating students, helping over 75,000 students through college since 1991. However, the the general graduation rate for unsupported students is nine percent.

Among the presentations about college retention, a panel of four students, Melissa Garcia Velez, Jhaneil Jump, Andy Ng, and Angel Acosta, discussed their experiences as CFES students. The audience of college professionals in attendance asked questions of the panel which involved reasons for their success measured against their peers, the essence of the community and how it impacts them, and, of course, the financial challenges they face and how it impacts the students and their choices.

Among the leaders in college retention, Paul Smith’s College has developed strategies and has conducted one of the first student retention studies that has helped Paul Smith’s be one of the leading colleges for retention and graduation rates.

“The key to college retention is intense close participation, feeling one belongs to the community, and that someone cares,” President John Mills said. “Because if students know that you care, they care about themselves.”

The retention study by Paul Smith’s College’s Loralyn Taylor and Virginia McAleese can be found online at paulsmiths.edu. It is entitled, “Beyond Retention: Early Identification and Intervention with First Year Students.”

For more information about CFES or college retention/graduation rates visit collegefes.org, or paulsmiths.edu.

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