Coppin State University is a four-year historically black university (HBCU) with a graduation rate below the national average of 59 percent when our partnership commenced. Although the school incorporated retention initiatives, Coppin recognized that a significant portion of its freshman class required more intensive interventions to ensure students not only persisted to their sophomore year but also were adequately prepared and had momentum to continue their studies through graduation. Although these students all had the desire to succeed, many did not have a history of strong academic success or broad community support, which added additional challenges to the college process. Many students lacked confidence in their skills and had difficulty navigating a new environment, making it challenging for them to thrive and reach their full potential.
Coppin State University identified the appropriate student population and we enrolled them in our BridgeEdU Scholars On-Campus retention program called Coppin Bridge. The first-year program ensures that scholars receive a four-pronged approach to help them succeed: 1) Success Coaching, 2) Additional Academic Support, 3) Experiential Learning, and 4) Financial Aid Counseling. Using a high-tech and high-touch approach, success coaches connected with students on a weekly basis through our unique B-Connect Platform. Success Coaches also met bi-monthly (at minimum) with each scholar, forging strong, personal relationships to keep students actively engage in their studies and challenging them to bring their best selves. Scholars joined together for cohort meetings throughout the semester to build community with one another and for experiential learning programming that provided additional career coaching, résumé building, leadership training, and personal growth strategies. Success Coaches provided tools for building each student’s social capital through real-world experiences and networking opportunities. To ease financial concerns about paying for school, BridgeEdU financial counselors helped students maximize their aid opportunities through a variety of state and federal grants.
Coppin is in its second year of its relationship with BridgeEdU and will continue to offer the BridgeEdU On Campus program to a select group of freshman. In addition, BridgeEdU is working with senior leaders at Coppin to leverage the best practices from our coaching solutions and applying them across other at-risk groups.