Posted January 20, 2016

Low-income students succeed at Temple

Data shows Temple performs the best of universities in Philadelphia at graduating Pell Grant recipients at the same rate as other students.

Four Temple “T” flags on Main Campus.
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Nearly 10,000 Temple students received Pell Grants in the 2013–2014 academic year.
When it comes to the rate at which universities in Philadelphia educate and graduate students who receive Pell Grants compared to the rest of the student body, Temple is at the top. Nationally, recipients of the grants—which are awarded to low-income students—graduate at an average rate of 5.7 percent below students in higher income brackets. At Temple, the difference is a scant 0.5 percent. 
A recent article published by uses data compiled by The Education Trust to compare the graduation rates of Pell and other students at Philadelphia institutions. The numbers show students receiving Pell grants at Temple graduate at nearly the same rate as other students. 
Part of the success of Temple students can be attributed to an innovative, data-based program designed to address the risk factors that contribute to first-semester students’ likelihood of dropping out. According to Peter R. Jones, senior vice provost for undergraduate studies, the No. 1 risk factor program administrators look for is whether students have received Pell Grants, which were awarded to nearly 10,000 Temple students in the 2013–2014 academic year. 
Each student identified through the program is paired with an advisor during his or her first semester. Advisors let them know about the resources available on campus to help students succeed, such as the Center for Learning and Student Success and the Writing Center. Additionally, the university tracks grades and class attendance for students six weeks into each semester, and alerts advisors if it appears they are facing challenges. 
As Jones told Billy Penn: “We’re like the last leg of a relay race. Many of these students have struggled against the odds in middle school and high school. I’ll be damned if they come to Temple and drop the baton on the last leg.”
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