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DCCC Wins 2018 Community College Financial Empowerment Award

February 21, 2018 (Nashville, TN) – The financial services company OneMain Financial and the national nonprofit community college reform organization Achieving the Dream (ATD) announced today that North Carolina’s Davidson County Community College (DCCC) has won the 2018 Community College Financial Empowerment Award, a prize that recognizes an institution in the ATD Network for outstanding achievement and innovation in developing and scaling effective financial empowerment programs for students.

The award includes a $25,000 prize that will allow DCCC to strengthen and expand its efforts to help students increase their financial capability so they can persist and complete their studies.

“We know that finances are a primary obstacle for successful completion of credentials that will increase economic mobility,” said DCCC President Mary Rittling. Instead of treating students’ financial challenges as “a problem we can’t fix,” Dr. Rittling said the college decided to “turn the financial challenges that students face into positives in ways that can help students succeed.”

“As a company committed to helping people with their financial needs, we’re proud to partner with Achieving the Dream and support Davidson County Community College’s financial education program,” said OneMain Philanthropy Director Trish Weaver. “Funding programs that help people gain financial confidence and overcome financial crises aligns with our mission to improve the financial health of our local communities.”

Nearly three-fourths of DCCC’s students receive financial aid, which many of them rely on for living expenses as well as college costs.

“New research clearly shows that too many community college students are hungry, lack stable housing, and struggle to pay for transportation and childcare,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “On behalf of our Network, I commend Davidson County Community College for recognizing that their students’ financial challenges are the college’s challenges, too, and that academic success depends a great deal on offering students support, resources, and opportunities to build financial management skills.” 

The college launched a coordinated, comprehensive campaign to improving students’ financial well-being and provide students with targeted assistance at different stages of their college career.

First, students can access DCCC’s College Transition Center (CTC), which helps many first year students strengthen foundational skills to prepare for credit-bearing courses.

Second, students can participate in the Single Stop program, a national initiative that connects current students with wraparound social services and financial assistance. At DCCC, trained staff help students with housing, transportation, food assistance, child care, food stamps, Medicaid, medical resources, tax services, legal services, and financial counseling. These services provide much needed assistance for many students working to complete their academic goals.   

Lastly, DCCC invested in EX$EL, an online financial literacy and student loan repayment module that is used by counselors to advise and educate students on how to manage their debt and student loan repayment obligations. Learning how to manage debt is a critical skill for students to master in order to succeed during and after college.

The results of DCCC’s financial literacy efforts have been promising.

In spring 2017, only 2 percent of students served by the Single Stop program withdrew from DCCC. This compares to an average institutional withdrawal-within-term rate of 5.3 percent.  In addition, the EX$EL program contributed to a four percent decrease in the student loan default rate from 22 percent to 18 percent for the 2011 and 2015 cohorts, respectively.

Finally, before the Community Transition Center was started in 2015, more than 50 percent of all students taking the lowest levels of developmental mathematics did not complete the course in their first attempt, and only 67 percent of them returned to DCCC the following semester. In comparison, fewer than 10 percent of students who worked with the CTC, needed to retake developmental math.

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Dr. Mary Rittling, president, and faculty/staff from DCCC accept the the 2018 Community College Financial Empowerment Award

Left to Right:

  1. Dr. Jane Birkholz, Dean, Enrollment Services
  2. Stacy Holliday, Associate Dean, Campus Innovations, Grants, Student Success
  3. Susan Huneycutt, EdS Director, College Transition Center
  4. Susan Burleson, Vice President, Student Success and Communications
  5. Trish Weaver, VP, Corporate Communications & Philanthropy Director at OneMain Financial
  6. Dr. Mary Rittling, president of DCCC
  7. Dr. Rhonda Q. Coats, Vice President, Student Affairs
  8. Julie Dillon, Psychology faculty
  9. Colleen Thomas, Assistant Professor, Math & Developmental Studies
  10. Elaine Guntner, Institutional Researcher and Technical Writer, Student Success Initiatives

About Davidson County Community College

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is a fully accredited, multi-campus college where students of all ages and backgrounds pursue academic and career-focused education in order to build successful futures. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers more than 40 degree and professional certificate programs to students in Davidson and Davie counties, as well as affordable college-credit coursework to students who plan to transfer to 4-year universities. With a mission to serve the changing needs of students competing in a global environment, DCCC is committed to quality education, innovative and equitable learning experiences, training, and support across a wide range of 21st-century career fields. Visit Davidson County Community College at DavidsonCCC.edu.

About Achieving the Dream

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with more than 100 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 40 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

About OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial (NYSE: OMF) is America’s premier consumer finance company, offering responsible and transparent personal loan products for over 100 years. The company provides personalized, best-in-class service at their 1,600+ branches, as well as through their internet lending division, iLoan, which gives customers the ability to complete the loan process entirely online. OneMain has more than 10,000 team members, located throughout 44 states, who are dedicated to serving and supporting the communities where they live and work. For additional information, please visit OneMainFinancial.com.