VC student success reached high level despite COVID-19 outbreak

Dr. Jennifer Kent

Victoria College’s ABC rates for the 2020 academic year matched the ten-year high despite students having to complete their studies during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Slightly over 74 percent of Victoria College’s students received an A, B, C, or satisfactory grade. VC also maintained a high retention rate for the Spring 2020 semester. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 89 percent of students started and finished the Spring 2020 semester.

“These numbers are just proof of the hard work and commitment of all Victoria College employees and students,” said VC President Dr. Jennifer Kent. “VC employees worked tirelessly to implement proactive and innovative measures to ensure our students had every opportunity to overcome unprecedented obstacles thrown at them due to COVID-19.”

Those efforts paid off for many VC students.

“I was able to continue receiving services such as virtual tutoring, which enabled me to complete both the semester and my degree successfully,” said Frank Casillas, who graduated with an Associate of Arts degree after the Spring 2020 semester. “Victoria College helped students realize we could continue our education and accomplish our goals through the challenges.”

Victoria College was also able to close equity gaps in its 2020 ABC rates. There was a six-percent increase among Asian and Black students and a three-percent increase among Hispanic and white students.

Matt Wiley, Victoria College’s director of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Assessment, attributed the closure of the equity gap to increased targeted support and funds granted to VC through the CARES Act.

“I think the equity gap numbers are tangible proof that VC is truly committed to ensuring the success of all our students,” Wiley said. “During the pandemic, VC kept students informed by sending them text messages, faculty stayed in contact with their students, and students were encouraged to take advantage of VC’s support services remotely. VC wants all our students to know they’re part of the VC family.”

In 2019, Victoria College reported a 14-percent equity gap between white and black students. The ABC rate for white students was 77 percent, while the rate for Black students was 63 percent.

“In the Spring 2020 semester, as we became more aware of hidden challenges facing our students, we saw Black students record a 69-percent ABC rate and close that gap to about 11 percent.”

Asian students at Victoria College also recorded an increase in the ABC rate from 2019 (91 percent from 85 percent), as did Hispanic students (71 percent from 68 percent).

“In any institution of education, special attention must be paid to disparity that may occur in a metric between groups of students, with the ultimate goal of completely eliminating all equity gaps,” Kent said. “As a Guided Pathways college, VC will continue to work diligently to improve student success while striving to achieve equity in our outcomes.”    

In 2016, Victoria College students also maintained a 74-percent ABC rate during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“VC put a lot of hard work into support services and student equity after Hurricane Harvey,” Wiley said. “This effort paid off during the pandemic. From virtual tutoring to a food pantry and from technology to learner-focused faculty, VC is keeping student success our top priority.”