WALLA WALLA — With its picturesque main street and pleasant, tree-lined neighborhoods, Walla Walla was recently named the friendliest small town in America.
The epicenter of a celebrated wine industry, its All-American atmosphere also harbors a soul that’s ambitious and entrepreneurial.
It’s an attitude that extends to the local community college, too. So when Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) took a hard look at the number of students it was losing every year — students on the verge of completing their degrees, but who instead simply drifted away — administrators knew they needed to take action.
Why did students quit?
Why didn’t they transfer to four-year colleges, or finish the credentials that would add heft to their résumés?
The questions, while vexing for college leaders, were not new, or even unique.
Nationally, only about 40 percent of first-time, full-time students at community colleges complete a degree or transfer within three years.