Resource Guide: Strategies to Encourage Student Completion

Posted on October 8, 2018

For the past two years, with support from the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PHENND has embarked on a project to develop a new learning community and set of resources around college degree completion for low-income/first generation students, particularly those from the City of Philadelphia.

We began with a series of focus groups facilitated by Jason Alexander of Capacity for Change, last Fall. Those conversations led us to identify five major “bucket areas” or realms which affect success for low-income/first gen students:

  • Financial Aid and Social Services (i.e. insecurity with food, housing, transportation, childcare and other basic needs)
  • Advising & Career Pathways – do students clearly understand how credits add up to specific degrees and whether those degrees map to careers
  • Teaching & Learning – how we teach, are “high impact” practices equitably distributed?
  • Climate & Culture – does this campus feeling welcoming to students? everywhere?
  • Data – are we tracking low-income/first gen student success?  if so, what are we finding?

With the support of two cracker jack graduate interns from Temple and Villanova, we have worked to identify the people and offices across PHENND’s 25 member campuses who are responsible for these areas.  We have identified over 300 administrative professionals who are essentially the region’s Directors of Admissions, Academic Advising, Career Services, Civic Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion, Financial Aid, Institutional Research, Teaching & Learning, and Peer Mentoring. We have also produced a resource guide for professionals in those domains, on how they, from their vantage point, can impact low-income/first gen student success.

Download the resource here: Strategies to Encourage Student Completion

We are also hosting a kick-off event primarily for these college and university administrators on October 30th. If you would like more information about this event, please contact Caitlin Fritz at

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