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Allison Joyner

Albany State offers resources for at-risk students

The student center at Albany State University. Credit: Albany State University

The COMPASS program is designed to assist students who have experienced foster care, ward of state, unaccompanied youth and homelessness. 

By Allison Joyner

Due to COVID-19 putting lots of Georgians out of work, Albany State University is helping their students for those who do not have a place to stay. 

Standing for Changing Obstacles by Motivation Positive Accountability for Student Success, the COMPASS program helps at-risk students who often face homelessness or aging out of the foster care system. 

The COMPASS program at Albany State University is committed to increasing the retention and graduation rate for potentially at-risk students.
Credit: Albany State University

In only its second year, COMPASS has filled a need for many students and gave them what they needed at the right time. 

When the school had to close halfway through the spring 2020 semester because of the spread of COVID-19, many students had nowhere to go after being told to leave campus immediately. 

“Our students who don’t have stable living arrangements are having difficulties accessing computers and internet service to complete their assignments,” COMPASS Retention Specialist Mildred Polite said.

CLICK HERE to see what Carmail Cooper said to WALB in Albany, Ga.

 In its second year, COMPASS has been a needed relief for students. So much that Polite says that the program is “necessary” for the historically Black university. 

Going more into detail, Polite said the program “is a necessity for the institution, the students, and the community in which these students are encouraged to thrive.”

COMPASS provides an opportunity to define experiential and interdisciplinary learning for the 68 students who are currently enrolled in the program. 

In addition to providing resources like housing and job assistance, COMPASS offers specific resources for each student’s individual needs. 

The program exposes students to help them become well-rounded adults and teaches them the seven dimensions of wellness: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical. 

“The dimensions of wellness address the total student,” Polite added and identifies areas of challenges that the students didn’t know they have. 

When the school would be closed for holiday breaks, ASU social work major, Carmail Cooper said she would have nowhere to go when the residence halls close. She found out about COMPASS and met the requirements to get housing assistance for her living situation. 

Cooper told SaportaReport that the program helps her build lasting relationships with faculty and staff and will help her build a foundation for success after graduation. 

With the CDC extending the eviction moratorium to Oct. 3, Polite says she and her staff are ready to accept more students into the program.

Logo of Albany State University
Credit: Albany State University

Knowing that there would be a demand for services, Polite said, “Albany State has the infrastructure and the support services to provide our students with avenues for help.”

Cooper, who wants to go to graduate school one day, is grateful to be a part of  COMPASS and said that her participation in the program has helped her to become “a great individual.” 

Students begin to move in on campus later this week, and classes begin on Aug. 16. For more information on the COMPASS program at Albany State CLICK HERE


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