Giving Compass' Take:

• John Broderick shares how Old Dominion University has successfully worked to improve students' social mobility. 

• How can funders help to spread best practices for increasing social mobility? 

• Learn about the social capital gap in America

Old Dominion is committed to educating students from all backgrounds, and we have backed up that commitment with a range of successful programs in areas from academics to financial aid. Here are a few strategies for those institutions looking to bolster their social mobility efforts:

Start an initiative that helps students overcome unexpected financial hurdles, which for many pose a greater challenge than academic demands. As little as $1,500 can keep a student from leaving college. In its first year, Old Dominion's Bridge the Gap program raised more than $6 million, helping more than 500 first-year students stay in school.
Launch a network to help adult learners finish their degrees. The Online Virginia Network, which Old Dominion started with George Mason University in 2017, exceeded its enrollment goals by 178% in its first two years.
Provide opportunities for more intimate, personalized guidance to students in need. Old Dominion's Mane Connect program provides select students with one-on-one success coaching. Freshmen who began in the fall of 2017 had a retention rate 19% higher than that of similar students who were not in the program and 6% higher than the overall freshman class.
Employ low-income students while ensuring they stay on track to graduate in four years. Our Learn and Earn Advantage Program (LEAP) not only offers campus jobs to low-income students in their first year at Old Dominion, but it also provides them with the opportunity to take a class in employment skills and talk with alumni and other professionals. Last year, participants in the program experienced an impressive 98% retention rate.
Encourage students to get involved in national initiatives like Brother 2 Brother, which focuses on men of color and provides mentoring, outreach and community engagement.
These efforts are yielding positive, tangible results. CollegeNET ranks Old Dominion in the top 20% of colleges nationwide in terms of social mobility.

Read the full article about encouraging social mobility by John R. Broderick at Education Dive.