Securing a Better Future: A Portrait of Female Students in Mississippis Community Colleges. Report #C417Reportar como inadecuado

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Institute for Women's Policy Research

Community colleges are a critical resource for women seeking to achieve economic security and stability, yet many women who are community college students face challenges that make it difficult to persist in their education and complete their degrees. To understand the circumstances and experiences of female community college students in Mississippi, the challenges to their academic progress, and the resources that enable them to persist and succeed, the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducted an online survey of women who are students in the state's community colleges, commissioned by the Women's Foundation of Mississippi (WFM). Nearly 550 students from 13 of the state's 15 community colleges responded to the survey, with the majority of responses (60 percent) coming from two schools. Students answered questions about the factors that inspired them to pursue postsecondary education, their personal and career goals, and which types of student supports they find most helpful and needed. To supplement the findings from students' responses to the survey, IWPR interviewed eight community college administrators about their perceptions of students' greatest unmet needs, the ways their schools strive to meet these needs, additional services they believe would be useful to the students they serve. These interviews and the survey supplement draw on insights from the "Community College Completion Project" conducted by the Social Science Research Center of Mississippi State University, a study that examined the challenges and obstacles women students in Mississippi encounter in fulfilling their community college goals. Recommended changes to address these challenges include the following: (1) Enhance career counseling and remedial education; (2) Expand and improve student supports and services; and (3) Increase access to financial aid and other financial supports. The following are appended: (1) Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Respondents; and (2) Age Distribution of Respondents.

Descriptors: Community Colleges, Two Year College Students, Females, Student Surveys, Online Surveys, Student Motivation, College Attendance, Academic Aspiration, Income, Employment Level, Low Income Groups, Paying for College, Student Financial Aid, Student Loan Programs, Decision Making, Majors (Students), Transportation, Child Care, Costs, Health Insurance, Physical Health, Mental Health, Contraception, Violence, Social Support Groups, Student Personnel Services, Satisfaction, Racial Differences, Age Differences, Administrator Attitudes, Interviews

Institute for Women's Policy Research. 1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4362; Fax: 202-785-5100; e-mail: iwpr[at]; Web site:

Autor: Hess, Cynthia; Krohn, Sylvia; Reichlin, Lindsey; Román, Stephanie; Gault, Barbara


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