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ERIC Number: ED516148
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 60
Toward a New Understanding of Non-Academic Student Support: Four Mechanisms Encouraging Positive Student Outcomes in the Community College. CCRC Working Paper No. 28. Assessment of Evidence Series
Karp, Melinda Mechur
Community College Research Center, Columbia University
This paper examines the ways in which academically vulnerable students benefit from non-academic support. By reviewing theories of student persistence as well as program evaluation literature, the author identifies four mechanisms by which non-academic supports can improve student outcomes, including persistence and degree attainment. Programs associated with positive student outcomes seem to involve one or more of the following mechanisms: (1) creating social relationships, (2) clarifying aspirations and enhancing commitment, (3) developing college know-how, and (4) making college life feasible. Identifying these mechanisms allows for a deeper understanding of both the functioning of promising interventions and the conditions that may lead students to become integrated into college life. Notably, each of these mechanisms can occur within a variety of programs, structures, or even informal interactions. The paper concludes by discussing avenues for further research and immediate implications for colleges. A tabular review of empirical studies is appended. (Contains 4 footnotes and 1 table.)
Community College Research Center. Available from: CCRC Publications. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Community College Research Center