- The University of St. Thomas this week announced the creation of the Dougherty Family College, a two-year degree program for low-income students who may not have earned all prerequisites for entry into the full university, but have demonstrated capacity for learning.
- Requirements for the program, modeled after a similar initiative launched at Loyola University in Chicago, offers students admission at lower requirements for GPA, and with a cost of just $1,000 annually.
- The school has raised more than $18 million in private support for the school, slated to open in 2017 pending accreditation approval from the Higher Learning Commission.
The investment in a two-year degree program with connections to an established four-year campus is perhaps the strongest higher education pipeline to ensure future financial success. As campuses become more tuition dependent, the ability to foster relationships from high school through to college graduation, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be an essential element of success.
Schools like Loyola, the University of the District of Columbia and the Southern University System have modeled this kind of pipeline in urban and rural environments, and have proven potential for success with sustainable public support.