Public Benefits and Community Colleges: Lessons from the Benefits Access for College Completion Evaluation Report-in-Brief

Nov 19, 2014
  • Description

The Benefits Access for College Completion demonstration (BACC) represented a collaborative multi-year investment from several philanthropic organizations to demonstrate how student supports from public human services programs could help address the college completion agenda. The idea fueling BACC was that existing financial aid programs are insufficient, and that high levels of unmet need lead to excessive work, poor grades, and dropping out of college. The underlying assumption for BACC was that, if students received additional financial and nonacademic supports through public benefits programs in addition to financial aid, their personal lives would become more stable, and they would make more progress toward their postsecondary educational goals.

BACC supported seven community colleges in six states over 2.5 years to develop and implement benefits access services on their campuses, with the goals of increasing the numbers of eligible students who received public benefits, and, thus, subsequently improving academic progress toward a postsecondary credential. Our evaluation focused on five of these colleges – representing different college sizes and percentages of students that might be eligible for benefits, as well as operating in the context of five different state public benefits systems.