- With the opening of a new center with services like a food pantry, tutoring center and clothing closet, Amarillo College is embarking on a data-driven approach to help identify the best ways the school can service its students in the aftermath of state budget cuts and enrollment drops, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.
- President Russell Lowery-Hart touts the use of data in determining how best to help students, saying the college has been able to map out its typical student: a 26-year-old minority female who is a first-generation student and is attending part-time.
- Lowery-Hart has strong support from the school’s governing body, and says the number of "traditional"’ students attending has remained steady. However, the name of the "nontraditional student program" is now the "adult student program," acknowledging that nontraditional students have become the traditional ones.
K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions are working through how to adequately address changing student populations, and the changing needs of those students. College administrators are suffering from an array of challenges on multiple fronts, and most likely solutions would involve an increase in resources from government or private funding, or with a boost in enrollment to offset rising expenses. Schools can save money by consolidating services — and replacing other costly infrastructure, as Amarillo did with its library to offer its service center.
Opportunities may also be available for smaller campuses or schools that can target populations with specific stressors. Several school districts have opened "recovery schools" to assist students recovering from addiction; it is a model colleges and universities could look to replicate, offering a supportive yet more manageable space as vulnerable students transition into four-year experiences. Schools serving niche missions are often financially imperiled, but "recovery schools," or other colleges and universities that make solving a social issue a central facet of its mission, may find more opportunities for funding support outside typical channels.