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3 Key Reasons SparkPoint™ Works

What the Future of Academic Success Can Look Like

May 7, 2024

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In a recent convening with key SparkPoint™ stakeholders, United Way Bay Area (UWBA) debuted key findings from a comprehensive study on the program./ The studyshed light on the transformative role the program plays in bolstering the success of community college students – insights that many hope will shape the future of support services.

The findings of the SparkPoint Supports Student Success evaluation set the stage at the convening for a discussion on how integrated support services significantly enhance student outcomes and underscore the program’s effectiveness over the years.

Here are three key takeaways from the study and what it means for support services going forward:

  1. Remarkable Student Success & Persistence Rates:

    One of the standout statistics presented was the success rates for SparkPoint clients between 2018 and 2022. This rate includes students who persisted from one semester to the next or graduated/transferred within the academic year.

    Success and persistence rates for students varied from academic year to year, with 2018-19 year showing the highest at 86%. Meaning, that students who received support were more likely to not only remain enrolled through completion but also succeed than those without.

  2. Financial Coaching as a Key Success Driver:

    Perhaps the most compelling data shared was the significant role of financial coaching in student success. The report pointed out that receiving two or more financial coaching touchpoints early in a student’s academic career was a statistically significant contributor to better academic outcomes. Students engaged in financial coaching showed a 10-12% higher success rate than those who did not receive such coaching.

    This piece of data underscored the critical need for financial literacy and planning in supporting student achievements. Noting that equipping them with the necessary tools to navigate their financial challenges was not just about budgeting or financial planning, but also included empowering students to make informed decisions that align with their long-term educational objectives.

  3. Forward-Looking Recommendations:

    Concluding the presentation, the authors proposed several recommendations to enhance student success and ensure ongoing impact based on their findings. These included continued support for financial coaching with multiple engagements to be most effective and expanding the SparkPoint model to encompass a broader student base within community colleges.

    This expansion would support institutional goals of increasing graduation rates, certificate achievements, and seamless transfers to four-year universities, amplifying SparkPoint’s proven track record in advancing academic persistence and achievement.

“Just having someone and some people in my corner, trying to figure out the day-to-day basic needs… I was able to not only thrive but get well beyond where I had wanted to go.” – Casey, SparkPoint Ambassador

“I started at Laney College… I wasn’t sure that I could even go to college. SparkPoint was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. Being able to do things when I have some stability is not that hard, but being able to do them when I don’t… that’s what makes it hard.” – Juan, SparkPoint Ambassador

“The way that they work with other organizations and other groups that are on campus is just so seamless, it’s incredible.”- Rose, SparkPoint Ambassador

Digesting these stories, the significance of SparkPoint’s work was made clear. It’s not just about financial metrics; it’s about real people, real struggles, and real triumphs. Each panelist’s story woven with the statistical fabric of the report painted a fuller picture of what it means to give individuals access to the tools needed to truly propel their lives forward and foster change in communities.

This convening not only highlighted the crucial findings of the SparkPoint UWBA Report but also set the stage for future initiatives aimed at expanding these successful services to more community college students across the Bay Area. The commitment to ongoing improvement and expansion of services promised a brighter, more equitable future for all Bay Area students aiming to succeed and thrive.

To find out more about what SparkPoint has to offer, or how you can get involved, visit us here.