LCU Partners with National Nonprofit in Support of Low-Income, First-Generation Students

LCU Partners with National Nonprofit in Support of Low-Income, First-Generation Students

By Dr. Elizabeth Christian

July 28, 2020

Louisiana Christian University ​has partnered with nonprofit Strive for College to strengthen college opportunities for low-income, first-generation college students.

By becoming a Strive for College Partner, ​LCU ​has demonstrated a commitment to enrolling and graduating low-income and first-generation college students and through Strive’s programs will promote and strengthen their campus programs and support services for these students.

“Louisiana Christian University has implemented many services in the last several years to assist first-gen students, and we are committed to offering programs to ensure all our students reach their full potential,” said President Dr. Rick Brewer. “We are very excited to enter this partnership with Strive for College as this is the kind of resource prospective students and families need when considering which college to attend.

“LCU continues to find ways to make a Christian college education both affordable and accessible for all college students.”

The College was ranked 4th highest return on investment (ROI) among private colleges in the state and 5th highest among public schools offering bachelor of arts degrees according to a report released by Georgetown University in Fall 2019.

An estimated 24 percent of students enrolled in college are low-income, first-generation college students. But only 10 percent of these students earn a bachelor’s degree six years out from high school.

Louisiana Christian University has already been servicing these students through the Student Success Center and the Bridge Program, and this partnership will build on an already firm foundation.

“The Student Success Center provides assistance through our writing and tutoring center,” said JoLynn McConley, director of the center. “The SSC follows students through their college experience offering support as they navigate successfully.  SSC realizes there will be challenges along the way, which are viewed as opportunities for growth.”

Four years ago, the Summer Bridge Program was created to help students “bridge” the math and English gap between high school and college. Students who need remedial math and English based on their ACT scores can come to LCU in the summer and participate in a five-week, intensive course, said Dr. Lillian Purdy, professor of English and coordinator of Academic Advising. During the program, the students also take a study skills course that will help them with time management, note taking, preparing for tests, and other needed skills. When students successfully complete the summer program, they can move right in to English 101 and College Algebra or Finite Math in the fall semester.  There are some high school GPA and ACT scores admission requirements, but eligible students can jump start their college career with these developmental courses.

In the fall and spring semesters, the Bridge Program continues. Students who did not attend summer bridge but meet admission requirements and need remedial math or English can take those classes in their first semester, Purdy said. These students also will take study skills.

“The Summer Bridge Program is an excellent opportunity for students who need developmental courses to come to campus and take the classes,” Purdy said. “The classes are small, and tutoring help is provided. The students can live on campus and eat in the cafeteria. In the short five-week program, they can get a glimpse of college life, even as they get to know classmates, instructors, and staff. By the time the fall semester begins, they are already Wildcats!”

The partnership with Strive for College will just add to the opportunities available for first-gen and all students at LCU.

Strive for College’s programs provide numerous resources to educators and students alike. For College Partners, there is a learning community where colleagues can share best-practices and model successful programs for recruiting and retaining first-generation college students. For students, Strive’s online mentoring program connects aspiring college students with dedicated mentors to receive one-on-one guidance and support through the college admissions and financial aid application process. Strive’s custom-built technology platform has communications features like video chat and data-powered college matching tools to help students discover and connect with colleges like Louisiana Christian University. LCU is also helping to mobilize mentors from its campus community and alumni network to assist students.

“The alarming dropout rate among first-gen college students illustrates the importance of programs that promote better college opportunities for these students,” said Strive for College founder and CEO Michael J. Carter. “Alongside schools like ​Louisiana Christian University we aim to change this trend.”

Louisiana Christian University ​is featured in Strive’s ​I’m First! Guide to College​, the only comprehensive college guidebook for first-generation college-bound students, and participates in the​ ​ website featuring student videos stories, blogs and advice from and for first-generation college students​.

About Louisiana Christian University

Founded in 1906, Louisiana Christian University is a private, Baptist coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences with selected professional programs. Built upon the principles of character and learning, the College has a tradition of outstanding academics and is the only Baptist, four-year institution in Louisiana. Louisiana Christian University is a Christ-centered community committed to Academic Excellence where students are equipped for Lives of Learning, Leading, and Serving.

About Strive for College

Strive for College was founded in 2007 by Michael J. Carter, then a student at Washington University in St. Louis, to help underserved area high school students apply to college and navigate financial aid. College students volunteered as in-person mentors for high school students, and mentored students achieved substantially better college go-on rates than their non-mentored peers. Strive for College grew to become a respected college access organization, serving in-person mentoring across the country. Delivering its mentoring service at sufficient scale to make a meaningful impact on the national college access problem soon became Strive’s biggest challenge, which led to the development and launch of Strive’s online platform in 2014. Online mentoring by Strive for College is now a national service, which is intended to serve one-million students within three years.

Since merging with the Center for Student Opportunity in 2016, Strive for College now runs and publishes the ​I’m First! Guide to College​ in support of first-generation college students, and partners with nearly 200 four-year colleges and universities to promote and strengthen their efforts on behalf of these students.

Learn more at​ or contact Matt Rubinoff, ​​, 949-329-8291