Edison State receives Reducing Barriers Grant from ECMC Foundation


PIQUA — In an effort to increase retention and reduce financial obstacles for students, four staff members from Edison State Community College’s advising and financial aid departments recently applied for and were awarded a $25,000 grant.

The Reducing Barriers Grant is funded by the ECMC Foundation and in partnership with Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland, the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), and the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement (NCII). These funds will be used to focus on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and withdrawal counseling for current Edison State students.

Students will be intentionally communicated with on the importance of completing the FAFSA, as they may qualify for funding that decreases or eliminates their need to borrow and reduces the frequency of outstanding balances that could prevent them from progressing.

The financial aid office will also develop campaigns to educate students on the FAFSA and funding that may be available to them. This includes the revitalization of documents, webpages, and policies with a focus on best practices that are student centered.

With the goal of making connections and establishing relationships, withdrawal counseling will focus on promoting other options available to students, sharing information regarding the impact of withdrawing, and connecting students with wrap-around services. In conjunction, data will be collected to identify why students drop or withdraw, as understanding this is imperative to meeting their needs.

“We’re excited to spearhead innovative initiatives to proactively reduce student indebtedness to Edison State, ultimately leading to an increase in student completion and retention,” said Carin Benning, Edison State coordinator of professional and technical pathways advising and Reducing Barriers Grant team lead.

Under the initiative, Edison State’s Reducing Barriers Grant Team will create data tracking, conduct cross-departmental training, and seek outside consulting and development. After collecting data through this spring semester’s soft launch, the team will identify target student populations that struggle with either FAFSA completion and/or withdrawal to work with those populations specifically.

Based in Los Angeles, California, the ECMC Foundation is committed to improving higher education through innovative solutions to ensure the success of underserved populations. Learn more about the Foundation by visiting www.ecmcfoundation.org.

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