Press Release

Bunker Hill Community College Learning Communities Boost Retention of Part-Time Students According to New Report

Friday, August 17, 2018

A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), an independent nonpartisan policy institution based in Washington D.C., finds the Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) Learning Communities Program is a promising model for boosting retention of part-time college students.

According to CAP, only 37 percent of students who attend part time at any point during their college career graduate within six years, but part-time students who enroll in any of BHCC’s several types of learning communities in their first year are seven percent more likely than are other part-time students to remain enrolled in the College a year later.

“Retention is an urgent issue for community colleges, especially when it comes to best serving our part-time students,” says BHCC Present Pam Eddinger. “While many models focus on increasing course loads, we’re offering our students, many of whom are parents or work full time, key elements of the traditional college experience.”

Recognized by the national higher education reform network Achieving the Dream and the recipient of the prestigious Leah Meyer Austin Award, BHCC’s Learning Communities are designed to build community among peers, faculty and staff as well as engage students with culturally relevant, hands-on learning activities. The seminars explore topics of interest such as string theory, modern Islam and hip-hop, while clusters link courses across disciplines to examine a common academic theme. Combined with peer mentors and success coaching, BHCC’s Learning Communities Program serves as a powerful case study for improving the prospect of part-time students, who represent three quarters of community college students nationwide.

Read the Center for American Progress report.

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About Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts, enrolling approximately 18,000 students annually. BHCC has two campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea, and a number of other locations throughout the Greater Boston area. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-five percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 600 international students who come from 94 countries and speak more than 75 languages.