Barriers to Participation
Section 1: Introduction
Data show a positive association between students who participate in SEA funded programs and students who show significant gains in persistence and other outcome measures. At SRJC, SEA programs and activities are designed to reduce several identified equity gaps; however, not all students participate and engage in SEA programs or other projects that help support student success. For example, during 2018-19, there were 32,000 student engagements SEA programs and activities. In order to ensure all students have access to these programs, we need to identify barriers students may face when it comes to participating and engaging in these programs. Moreover, participation and engagement in these programs do not happen equally among all student groups. There have been some effective attempts at engaging students with SEA activities, such as learning communities, academic support, and co-curricular activities.
Why It Matters
To become a student-ready college, we need to better understand how to meet our students’ needs so our programs can be relevant and accessible to all students. Understanding the barriers that students may experience helps us design more effective outreach so we can connect students to programs directly. In addition, ensuring our SEA programs are student-ready and accessible helps increase community knowledge of the many programs SRJC offers to support student success and learning. Improving outreach and reducing barriers to these programs will ultimately help with college-wide enrollment and retention.
SEA programs are designed to help participating students stay on track with their short- and long-term goals at our college, and it is especially important that students in groups who are disproportionately impacted by barriers to success be connected with the projects and programs designed to support them. If these students do not receive the support they need to be successful, they may continue to experience barriers and obstacles to learning and success. SRJC wants to support students holistically, inside and outside of the classroom, by welcoming and inviting, guiding and supporting, and engaging and empowering them.
Aims and Objectives
The objectives of this study are threefold: 1) to better understand how students are learning about SEA programs, 2) to provide more clarity on the barriers some students may face to participating in SEA programs, and 3) to make recommendations for interventions so that these programs can better meet students’ needs. By shedding more light on who the non-participating students are, we will be better able to investigate specific shared characteristics among this group of students that will then lead us to propose specific interventions and actions to support these groups. In doing this work, we aim to investigate the mystery of non-participation by identifying systems, policies, and attitudes at our college that hinder participation and engagement in SEA-funded programs, and recommending changes that will directly increase participation in SEA programs and activities.
A. Problem Statement
A common barrier students face is simply that they don’t know about a program’s existence, or they don’t know how a program can help them. How are students connected with or recruited into SEA programs? What are the strategies students are using to come into SEA programs?
B. Research Questions
What is the engagement rate for students who indicate interest in services/programs on the CCC Application? Does it vary among interest area/program? Does it vary among population groups?