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Document Number: 7048

A Whole íNother World: Students Navigating Community College - Community colleges' lower cost, more convenient location and flexible admissions standards make them an attractive educational alternative for many students, especially those from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet, persistence toward degrees among community college students is low. Family responsibilities, poor academic performance and weak ties to faculty and other students get in the way of studentsí educational aspirations. This study asked students at two community colleges about the factors that affect their ability to persist in community college. Key findings include: (1) many younger students reported they attended college largely to please their parents and did not feel a strong personal motivation, while many students between 21 and 25 said they enrolled to escape low-wage work and ultimately provide a higher standard of living for their families; (2) parenting responsibilities often interfered with their ability to study and attend class using a traditional schedule; (3) making friends in college was only marginally important. (Alissa Gardenhire-Crooks, Herbert Collado and Barbara Ray, MDRC, July 2006) ...

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