University of St. Thomas

Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas

Challenge

The educational attainment gap is particularly severe in Minnesota, where students of color and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are much less likely to pursue and succeed at obtaining a 4-year college degree. For many students in Minnesota, there are simply no college choices available that recognize the challenges faced by students of color and provide the supportive environment needed to succeed.

Actions

The Dougherty Family College was launched by St. Thomas in the Fall of 2017 to provide an alternative path for young people in Minnesota who otherwise would not have the chance to succeed in college. Dougherty Family College offers a rigorous associate's degree program for promising students who want to obtain a four-year degree, particularly those from diverse and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students in the college are immersed in a supportive, structured environment. Students are placed in corporate internships to provide new experiences in a variety of fields. Many are the first in their families to attend college.

The Dougherty Family College offers structured and intensive mentoring, a core curriculum of liberal arts classes and small class sizes to prepare students to matriculate to a four-year college program after attaining their associate degree. Thanks to strong fundraising efforts, DFC students can obtain this degree paying about $1000 out of pocket each year, allowing them to pursue college with minimal student debt.

Outcomes

The Dougherty Family College was launched by St. Thomas in the Fall of 2017 to provide an alternative path for young people in Minnesota who otherwise would not have the chance to succeed in college. Dougherty Family College offers a rigorous associate's degree program for promising students who want to obtain a four-year degree, particularly those from diverse and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students in the college are immersed in a supportive, structured environment. Students are placed in corporate internships to provide new experiences in a variety of fields. Many are the first in their families to attend college.

The Dougherty Family College offers structured and intensive mentoring, a core curriculum of liberal arts classes and small class sizes to prepare students to matriculate to a four-year college program after attaining their associate degree. Thanks to strong fundraising efforts, DFC students can obtain this degree paying about $1000 out of pocket each year, allowing them to pursue college with minimal student debt.

The mission of our university is to advance the common good, and the Dougherty Family College has provided a way for St. Thomas to expand its reach and serve more students with need in a unique way. I am proud that we are making it a priority to serve students who have shown resiliency despite so many obstacles, who are motivated to pursue a 4-year degree and who want to succeed in school. The students are resilient and brave and we are a better community because they are part of St. Thomas. 

Dr. Julie H. Sullivan, President, University of St. Thomas

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