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President Glenn Shares Keys to SUCCESS in National Webinar  

Submitted by on October 18, 2023 – 1:37 pm

Tuesday, October 17– A Massachusetts program, spearheaded by Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn is serving as a national model for improving student persistence, retention, and completion.

Results for America is a non-profit focused on shifting government spending to open opportunities and advance economic mobility. In a recent case study, they looked at postsecondary programs, including the Massachusetts SUCCESS program, to serve as examples for states and institutions seeking to do similar work and to encourage increased federal and state support for evidence-based interventions. Tuesday, they presented the results of the case study in a nationally broadcast webinar, featuring President Glenn and SUCCESS Senior Project Director, Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) Lutful Khan.

Glenn began work on the creation of the statewide SUCCESS program in 2019 based on observations of student success rates in the TRIO program. TRIO is a federal grant program that funds support services for eligible low-income students. Through this program, colleges and universities provide tutoring, academic advising, financial aid counseling, career guidance, and other support services. TRIO students, on average, had rates of persistence and completion that were 20 to 30 percentage points higher than their peers.

Participants in NECC’s SOAR Program

Glenn’s vision was to create a similar program for a broader group of students. “The observation that when colleges have money for supporting additional wrap-around services, we know what to do, and it works,” Glenn shared during the webinar.

Together with MACC, and other community college presidents, he successfully lobbied for the creation of the SUCCESS Fund in Massachusetts for fiscal year 2021. SUCCESS stands for Supporting Urgent Community College Equity Through Student Services. SUCCESS enables the 15 Massachusetts community colleges to scale up proven wrap-around support services, with the aim of improving persistence and degree completion. Now in its fourth year, funding has doubled since its inception to $14 million for FY ’24.

Each college tailored the program to its student population. At Northern Essex, it funded the creation of the SOAR program. Like other SUCCESS programs, SOAR provides wrap-around services to students who are historically under-represented and under-served in higher education, including students experiencing poverty, students from minoritized communities, first-generation students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ students.

Early data shows the SUCCESS Program is producing similar results to that of TRIO. In examining success rates for students across seven of the state’s community colleges in 2021, 67% of SUCCESS participants persisted to the following fall, compared with 51% of their peers who did not engage with SUCCESS.

Tuesday’s webinar also featured the results of a case study of a similar program in Colorado. Results for America will use these case studies in its work to impact how federal dollars flow to state and local governments.

To learn more about the SUCCESS fund and SOAR at NECC, visit the webpage. The complete case study can be found here.