— a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis,
supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
In 2012, Christopher Feaster was living in a homeless shelter in the nation’s capital. He had to ration food and could only afford to wash his clothes once a month. Despite the challenges of his everyday life, Christopher was an academic superstar at Washington, D.C.’s Hospitality High School. With intensive support from school staff, he not only got into college, but won a full-ride scholarship to Michigan State University. We’ll introduce you to Christopher and explore how his story illustrates the struggles of low-income students in the U.S.
Christopher Feaster began his freshman year at Michigan State with optimism and determination, but he quickly found college was very different from high school. Christopher was far from home, he struggled in school and there were few supports to help him navigate his new world. His experience reflects the challenges of many students who are the first in their families to go to college. Just 1 in 4 low-income students earn their bachelor’s degree. We’ll go behind the statistics to talk with students about the troubles they face.
What supports will help low-income, first-generation students do better in college? The Posse Foundation boasts a 90 percent graduation rate. We’ll look at this highly structured nonprofit which helps prepare students for college while they’re still in high school. This support continues as they transition into and through college. A big part of their secret is having students go to college together in groups of 10.
Christopher Feaster is now back in Washington, D.C., bouncing from job to job and apartment to apartment. He’s still hoping to re-enroll in college, but his confidence is shaken. So what could have made his trajectory different? Experts say students like Christopher need plenty of support long after they finish high school. We’ll look at one college-based program that has tried to do just that, and explore whether these solutions can be expanded to serve more students across the nation.