The Role of Holistic Advising in the Persistence of Low-Income Adult Students in Community College: A Case Study




Hubbard, Christina M.

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Employers seek employees with skills that have been correlated with specific credentials including academic certifications, industry certifications, and college degrees. In order to meet these demands, policymakers are pressing higher education institutions to facilitate higher rates of credential completion among college students. This requires targeted support to increase success rates of students among those who can most benefit from credential completion and have historically been vulnerable to dropping out of college. This dissertation is based on a pilot study that was conducted in 2015. Findings describe the role that holistic advising (advising that includes all aspects of college success, such as academic and financial aid advising and student success coaching, as well as personal coaching that includes access to community-based family support services) play on the persistence of low-income adult community college students. This qualitative case study was conducted in a large suburban community in the mid-Atlantic region. Using interviews with eight participants, document analysis, and observations, the study provides information about how one community college has taken steps to facilitate a more secure foundation for a student population that historically has been unsuccessful in completing credentials. Discussion includes specific strategies and policies that higher education administrators and policymakers can promote to support low-income adult community college students. Recommendations include identified areas for future research.



Higher education, Adult education, Adult, Community college, Holistic advising, Low income, Low-income, Persistence