As we celebrate Black History Month at College Possible, we continue our work towards educational equity for our scholars. Elevating the untapped potential of students of color in our communities is our main priority for many reasons.
Communities of color are disproportionately bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, our scholars face additional barriers in their educational journey. According to the Chronicle of Education, researchers estimate that the pandemic is causing the worst season of “summer melt” in memory. “Summer melt” is a common problem, especially among students from limited-income backgrounds, where students have been accepted into college and plan to enroll but do not follow through. The pandemic has exacerbated many of the traditional causes that result in summer melt.
In response to the challenges brought on by the pandemic, we have doubled down on ensuring our scholars are receiving the support they need. Our programs are designed to serve scholars when and where they need our support and we were able to adapt quickly to the new realities, shifting to virtual programming. This shift is already bringing demonstrable results, thanks to the commitment of everyone across the organization, especially our AmeriCorps coaches and scholars.
I am excited to announce that our initial data in light of the pandemic is showing remarkable results. We are not only maintaining the results we traditionally see in a non-COVID world, we are seeing gains in many areas. Across the country, there has been a 30% decrease in enrollment and the drop is being directly attributed to the pandemic. However, College Possible scholars are enrolling at higher rates, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
This is just one of the many achievements we are celebrating this Black History Month – an opportunity every year to think about how to elevate the voices and experiences of our scholars of color and their families. At College Possible, we know this work must happen every month of the year.