Amarillo College has received a hefty financial boost to study how its own anti-poverty efforts are affecting students' academic achievement.
The Round Rock-based Trellis Foundation, a charitable organization that advocates for educational attainment for Texas families, has given $210,000 to AC.
The money will fund a detailed study of social services AC provides that link low-income, first-generation, and academically unprepared students to help them overcome poverty and attain degrees. Results from the study will help create a set of barrier reduction benchmarks the U.S. Department of Education will push higher education institutions to reach.
AC's "No Excuses Poverty Initiative" includes a range of services such as childcare assistance, utility bill aid, a food pantry and clothing closet, and counseling services.
AC has experienced a boost in passing rates, retention rates, and the percentage of full-time students enrolled in classes since launching the initiative, according to school data.
The initiative has included this past summer's first-of-its-kind summit of community college leaders from several states to discuss higher education's role in lowering economic barriers and serving as a foundation for regional economic stimulus: