Amarillo College President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, a nationwide advocate for helping colleges address conditions of poverty among their students, will be at Temple College Nov. 30 to help the college kick off a new communitywide initiative to improve student success.
Lowery-Hart started the “No Excuses Poverty Initiative” at Amarillo College to counter what the college found was the reason most students fail to realize their educational dreams – poverty. By helping students with poverty-related issues such as childcare, food, housing, mental healthcare and transportation, Amarillo College was able to increase student completion rates by more than 30 percent.
Lowery-Hart will share the story of the “No Excuses Poverty Initiative” with Temple College employees and members of the community on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 a.m. in the Leopard Room. Temple College offices will be not be open to the public until 9:30 a.m. to allow employees to attend the presentation.
Temple College has already launched its version of the “No Excuses Poverty Initiative” by asking students to participate in an anonymous “Financial Wellness Survey” Sept. 24-Oct. 15. In addition to asking students about their financial situation, the survey asked if they are experiencing issues such as food insecurity or homelessness.
The college will not have the complete results of the survey until January, but preliminary results showed that more than three-quarters of respondents (78 percent) reported running out of money at least once in the past 12 months, more than half the respondents showed signs of either low or very low food security within the past 30 days, and 9 percent reported being homeless within the past 12 months.
“If our students can’t meet their basic needs they aren’t going to be successful,” said Bob Browder, a member of the Temple College Board of Trustees.