West Hills College Lemoore removes barriers, delivers student success

From West Hills College Lemoore
West Hills College Lemoore removes barriers, delivers student success

Officials, administrators, and teachers at West Hills College Lemoore (WHCL) want their students to stay in college. They’re doing everything to make this happen.

According to the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University Teachers College (CCRC), 81 percent of students entering community college indicate they want to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, but only 33 percent transfer to a four-year institution within six years of starting at a community college.

WHCL is out to improve completion rates with their students and is doing all they can to remove as many chronic financial and home-life barriers as possible.

For example, WHCL Golden Eagle Pantry: this on-campus grocery store provides all enrolled students with ten free items, including creamy peanut butter - a staple for any college student - up to three times a week.

The pantry program was opened this spring and is a resounding success because it eliminates hunger among students. It saves students a trip to the grocery store, saves them gas money going and coming, and helps students struggling to make ends meet (a place many have been to in the past) do more than get by.

“We know that students can’t study and can’t focus when their most basic needs aren’t being met,” said James Preston, WHCL President. “Food insecurity is prevalent everywhere, but especially on college campuses today. We’re trying to change that by creating support mechanisms in and out of the classroom. We want to eliminate as many barriers as we can.”

Another example of WHCL’s efforts to encourage holistic learning is the technology support it offers students. Laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots are available to all students.

Additionally, 93 percent of West Hills College Lemoore students are eligible for financial aid. The college is doing all it can to help students get the support they are entitled to, which includes grants, scholarships, on-campus work-study programs, and cost-free tuition if you are a full-time student taking 12 units or more.

At WHC Lemoore, seven of 10 classes have zero or low textbook costs. “Another barrier that has saved students more than $5 million in just five years,” said Preston. “Textbooks have long been an expensive part of a college education. This is just another barrier we want to remove.”

Lemoore students are thriving grade-wise because of the school’s ongoing efforts. Students have a 75-percent course success rate, which means three-quarters of all enrolled students pass their classes with a “C” grade or better.

Another obstacle that the college has removed includes allowing students to register for classes a year at a time. The Reg-365 program lets students map out their class schedules ahead of time and enables students to register for summer, fall, and spring classes all at the same time. This feature helps college fit into students’ schedules rather than fitting their schedule to college.

With an average class size of 26 students and a military service program to help former active-duty military members and veterans, the college is doing everything it can to help its students not just survive college but thrive in it.

WHCL is very aware that it has the power to improve the economic outcomes and earnings potential of its students. It is working daily to help students navigate the college environment and connect coursework with their daily lives.

West Hills College Lemoore is saving its students thousands of dollars and helping low-income minority students attain their educational goals and earn living wages. “Increasing the upward mobility of all our students is what drives us,” said Preston.

West Hills College Lemoore removes barriers, delivers student success
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