CLEVELAND — The ongoing pandemic is leading many people to start considering career changes with some even going back to school. About 45 million adults have left college before completing a degree, according to The Graduate! Network.
But a local nonprofit organization is gaining national recognition for helping people navigate their way back to the higher education classroom.
College Now of Greater Cleveland is a non-profit organization that helps guide people through the post-secondary process with advising, financial aid counseling and scholarship and retention services. According to the organization, the retention rate for College Now scholarship recipients from freshman year to sophomore year is 94%.
"Our whole mission, our whole focus is on the student. We work for a non-profit that does not profit from sending a student in any particular direction," said Julie Szeltner, the senior director of adult programs and services for College Now. "All we want to do is make sure that you are on the track that you want to be on. Help you set your goals, give you the information you need, learn about where you hope to go, where you've been."
A new study from The Graduate! Network found that organizations like College Now of Greater Cleveland are highly effective at getting people back on track to attend any local community or state college that works best for them, especially women and people of color.
"One of the things that we did in this study is to look through the lens of predictive analytics to assess the likelihood that somebody would return to college and complete their degree," said Sallie Glickman, the co-founder of The Graduate! Network. "And through that analysis, we discovered deep through that analysis, we discovered evidence of the effectiveness of programs that use this model, including College Now Greater Cleveland."
The study revealed getting people connected with the right programs will help lead them to higher wages and more opportunities.
"We can't afford not to focus on this population that genuinely wants to be able to complete their degrees," said Glickman.