These Innovative Nashville Programs are Making Waves for Returning Students
When it comes to getting students who have stopped going to school back into class, it takes a lot of support. Support from loved ones is crucial, but it can be made even easier on students when communities come together to support them on their educational journey. And that’s exactly what Nashville is doing to help out their Comebackers with two special programs focused on reconnection.
As reported in an article from the Brookings Institution from author Laura Ward, Nashville has started two programs called the Reconnect Cafe and Reconnect Ambassadors to help students going back to school on their way to their degree.
These programs were made possible with funding from the Lumina Foundation, who made Nashville one of their “Talent Hubs” back in 2017. With that funding, the city zeroed in on one area of the city with over fifty thousand students who started college but didn’t finish.
On the campus of Nashville State Community College, three Reconnect Cafes opened, serving as places where both online and on-campus students could reach out for support, find resources, and have a place of their own to study. These cafes are acting as central hubs for returning students – a place to grab a snack and talk to someone about the issues they face, from childcare to talking to your workplace about your education. The staff at these cafes are committed to student success, to being understanding, and to helping students stay enrolled by being a friendly face.
The other half of Nashville’s program is the Reconnect Ambassadors, who are trained individuals focused on getting people to commit to going back to school. Nashville has trained over 150 people to be ambassadors, reaching out to those with unfinished degrees to supply them with encouragement and resources for going back to school. This program especially focuses on low-income students, for whom there are many barriers to going back to school. Reconnect Ambassadors get students in the doors, and then Reconnect Cafes support them while they are there.
Innovative programs like these are what it takes to get students back in school and keep them there. Going back to school is a tremendous task and it is difficult to do alone. Support from communities can make all the difference. When foundations like Lumina and cities like Nashville commit to student success, great changes happen.