Giving Compass' Take:

• As COVID-19 disrupts college students' plans of internships and jobs in the summer, many are taking on virtual mentoring opportunities to stay employed. 

• There are many programs that are matching jobless college students with elementary youth to keep them on track. How can donors help support these types of employment/mentorship programs? How are they mutually beneficial? 

• Read how school districts can address the COVID slide. 

With their summer jobs and internships canceled and anxiety about getting Covid-19 — or just succumbing to boredom — college students have found at least one type of work that they largely can do at home this summer: mentoring even younger students.

Several programs aimed at keeping incoming freshmen on track for college and others that provide tutoring to elementary students are scooping up jobless undergraduates as mentors in relationships that benefit everyone.

That takes a lot of people. College Bridge for All, which launched in 2016, has hired 80 CUNY students on top of the 120 it normally takes on in the summer, at $17 an hour, and given many of them bigger-than-usual caseloads, Myers said. The expansion began in mid July and the coaching will continue through September.

One of the program’s principal goals is to prevent “summer melt,” an annual phenomenon in which students who enroll in college in the spring fail to show up in the fall. This summer, CUNY college coaches are helping students fill out financial aid forms, enroll in classes, cope with changing campus scenarios for the fall and, for some late deciders, apply for admission.

Other programs employing college students, such as the Tennessee Tutoring Corps, are focused on the dual purpose of providing employment for college students and helping to prevent “Covid-19 slide” among kids in kindergarten through grade 6 who have been out of their classrooms since March.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education used the Tennessee Tutoring Corps as a model when it gave $135,000 to 11 higher education institutions and community partners to help curb summer melt; some of that money is going to college students to tutor incoming college freshmen.

Jarod Wilson, director of postsecondary outreach and career transitions at the commission, said the Tennessee program’s focus on reducing summer learning loss stood out. “While we were focusing on a different age group, the end result is the same — making sure that students had the support necessary to easily step into their next level of learning,” he said.

Read the full article about college mentoring programs by Charlotte West at The Hechinger Report.