Summary of “When a College Takes on American Poverty”

Lowery-Hart is the president of Amarillo College, a community college on the Texas Panhandle, and he had driven seven hours down to Waco to participate in a two-day, two-night simulation of homelessness run by a religious charity, in the hopes of more deeply relating to his many students who live in poverty.
What separates Amarillo College from most of its peers is not any particular program, but how much it focuses on addressing the effects of poverty.
As the college experiments, it is the students in poverty who are taking the biggest gamble.
If not college, what is the path for the students whom Amarillo College is trying to lift out of poverty? People can’t securely raise a family on a minimum-wage job.
A professor referred Pruett to the Advocacy and Resource Center, or ARC, the nucleus of the college’s poverty work, where a small team including Herrera helps hundreds of students each semester through their financial and life crises, marshals the college’s own resources, and hustles to connect students to every possible community or government program.
A gift from a local bank, for example, funded a renovation project that made space for the ARC. Perhaps less typical is that the Amarillo College Foundation is relatively well off with $43 million in assets, and it gave the college and its students over $3 million for the 2015-2016 school year.
Other aspects of the college’s poverty agenda lack evidence of systemic improvement, including the ARC. The college can point to students for whom help from the ARC clearly made the difference between dropping out and graduating, including Justin Allen, the single dad who was at the lunch with Pruett and Lowery-Hart.
In a society that offers so little support for a community-college education, and where growing up in poverty guarantees immense disadvantages, there’s only so much even visionary college leaders can do.

The orginal article.