The Ohio State University at Newark is working with the Ohio Campus Compact to help low-income students succeed in completing their college degree. A new program that started on the Newark campus at the beginning of spring semester is called Connect2Complete.

"We want to find new ways to help all of our students succeed academically," said Ohio State Newark Associate Dean Virginia Cope. "The Connect2Complete program has a proven track record of providing low-income students with the tools to be successful."

Ohio Campus Compact is a statewide non-profit coalition of 40 college and university presidents and their campuses working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education.

Ohio's colleges and universities are more engaged in service to communities, thanks to Ohio Campus Compact's grants, training, and service initiatives. For 25 years, Ohio Campus Compact has been a leader in promoting civic engagement and public service in campus and academic life.

The goal of the Connect-2Complete program is to keep economically-disadvantaged students in college so they will complete their degree. Studies show that low-income students are less likely to finish college.

Connect2Complete is a course-based program that involves training peer advocates to help low-income and underrepresented students find resources on campus, involve them in community engagement, and provide academic and peer support for them to be successful in college. Two peer advocates are sitting in on Ohio State Newark Retention Coordinator Jamie White's "Leadership in Community Service" course during the spring semester and are interacting with students through the course.

"Students are participating in community service projects during the course and working with the peer advocates," said White. "This is helping the students connect to the community and to the resources the campus has to offer to help them succeed."

The Connect2Complete program is currently running on 20 college campuses in the state of Ohio. Data from the program at other institutions show that the peer advocates help students determine a college identity, develop college know how and encourage the development of relationships on campus and in the community.

"We are excited to see the results of the program at Ohio State Newark," said White. "We feel it will really make a difference for some of our underrepresented students."

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors. It's where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.