North Central College in the News
North Central College’s Cardinal First program featured in NewsNation & New York Post
Sep 27, 2022
Nationally known, Cardinal First, featured for helping low-income students succeed
Going to college has long been seen as the path to the middle class. Indeed, college graduates on average earn much more money over the course of their lifetime than non-college graduates. For many students, the possibility of mountains of student debt and uncertain job prospects has them avoiding college altogether. Yet some colleges, universities, and other postsecondary programs are still succeeding in taking in students from lower-income families, giving them an affordable education and graduating them into middle-class jobs.
Lower-income students are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of college, which can lead them to accrue student debt without receiving the value of a degree. That’s a problem Deborah Santiago, the Chief Executive Officer of Excelencia in Education, has worked on for years. Many Latinos come from lower-income families and tend to have lower graduation rates than white students, and Santiago’s organization collects strategies to boost their college completion rates.
One example the organization highlights is Cardinal First at North Central College in Illinois, a program for first-generation students that connects them with peers, staff, and faculty who provide mentoring and support. Those mentors are drawn from both first-generation upperclassmen and faculty who were themselves first-generation students. Statistics released by the university showed over 90% of first-generation students who participated in Cardinal First were retained from their first year to the second year.