Student Success and Scholarships
NCC is a racially, ethnically and academically diverse college. NCC has been recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Dept. of Education (40% of NCC’s students are Hispanic). A significant proportion of NCC students are low-income, minority and first generation students, and many come from homes in which English is not the primary language. Students come from 87 countries representing 54 languages.
Ninety-percent of NCC students reside in 11 Fairfield County towns (Stamford and Norwalk comprise more than 60%). Approximately 65% of full-time students and 45% of all NCC students receive some form of financial aid. Many of these students struggle to overcome major challenges such as childcare costs and transportation as they pursue their educational goals.
Sixty-percent of students are 24 years or younger, however the older students bring the average age to 27. Nearly a quarter of students are parents themselves and 60% come from families where neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree.
NCC has a primary goal of empowering students to graduate with a marketable degree or certificate, or to transfer to a four-year institution within three years. With an open admissions policy, not all students who attend NCC enroll with the tools they need to succeed. A key roadblock is that many of NCC’s first-time students have graduated from high school, but are not prepared for college level coursework in math, English or both. Complex factors contribute to this picture. NCC is working hard to address the many hurdles that prevent student success.
As a member of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) National Reform Network since 2005, NCC has researched and implemented best practice strategies to improve student outcomes. Innovations include learning communities, cohort based instruction, academic supports, coaching and pre-college summer bridge programming. These interventions are making a significant difference, as evidenced by NCC’s selection in 2011 by ATD to Leader College status, one of only 15 community colleges nationwide selected to participate in this initiative. NCC earned recertification of Leader College status in 2013 and continues to focus on Student Success initiatives.
The NCC Foundation scholarships have a profound impact on our students. Nationally, most community college students finance their education through a combination of Federal Pell grants and loans. At NCC, our best students can graduate debt free. NCC Foundation scholarships have more than doubled in the past 10 years. In addition to our traditional Spring and Fall semester scholarships, we offered Winter and Summer scholarships for the first time this year so that students can accelerate their graduation!
The Path Scholarship Program, which began in 2012, demonstrates how the NCC Foundation has helped increase student success. Forty-one students, in two cohorts, were selected for Path, which provides participants with individual coaching as well as a grant for full tuition and fees. To date, 25 students have transferred to four-year institutions. When compared with a control group, students in the Path program consistently demonstrate higher graduation rates, grade point averages, and course completion rates – 93% have either graduated from NCC or are still in school pursuing their degree.
Please download the Path Program Overview for more information.
With a 30% increase in scholarship applications this year, the NCC Foundation’s annual funding available from the endowment can no longer cover the immediate scholarship needs of current students at NCC. Please hear our students speak about the impact of their Foundation scholarship on their personal success, as featured in a “Thank You” video available in the: Student Video Showcase.