Argosy Post Secondary Student Support Program (APSSP) Student Success from Admission to Graduation LASA 2 William Posey Argosy University
The University of Florida Institute of Technology (UFIT) has been having a freshman drop out rate that has been on the rise for the past 5 years (2005-2010, increase went up 2% annually…20%-28%). UFIT has vigorous math and science courses and it’s understood that the freshmen are struggling in those subject classes.
UFIT is the most expensive public school in the country. Seventy percent of the freshmen come in on a bright future’s scholarship and you must maintain a 2.0 in your core math and science classes at UFIT to maintain that scholarship. Fifty percent of the freshmen enroll from out of state and the cost to attend UFIT is $700 per credit hour.
Contributing to the expensive cost is the technology at UFIT. There is top of the world technology used at UFIT and a lot of research is studied from this school. Every professor teaches their classes and handles grades and attendance with the latest technology. The main communication with students outside office hours for professors is electronic mail. UFIT professors conduct their research with outside professors and researchers relying heavily on state of the art telecommunications (satellites). UFIT is very much the pilot school when it comes to incorporating new technologies. The professors at UFIT are the leading professors in their field. As UFIT’s reputation grows, they can steadily increase the tuition; achieving a degree from UFIT has a perceived value, higher than other private institutions.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed in 2000 that one in three Americans drops out of college. This is an increase from the 1960s when one in five discontinued his or her studies (Martindale 2010). For some students, getting accepted to a university is only the first in an uphill battle toward a degree. Persevering long enough to graduate can be just as challenging. The freshmen that earn D’s and F’s the first semester lose their bright future’s scholarship for their second semester and they have to come up with the money by loans or by working. Some of the students’ parents pull them out of the institute after their first semester if they earn D’s and F’s due to the price of tuition just alone. Also, 80% of the freshmen surveyed after the first semester admitted to being homesick.
Some studies indicate that a considerable proportion of college dropouts come from low-income families (Martindale 2010). Though research links financial difficulties to dropout rates, [Martindale] states there are a number of factors that account for why students decide to leave school. Students tend to drop out because their expectations of college—academically, socially, or both—don’t match up with the reality once they get there. They also suffer from lack of motivation, inadequate preparation, and poor study skills. A support program is in desperate need at UFIT and I believe APSSP is the answer.
APSSP is a ‘scholarship support’ program that targets low income, incoming 17-19 year old freshmen and provides them with an opportunity enhance their college success and experience. The whole goal of the scholarship program for low income, incoming 17 to 19 year old freshmen is to give them enough support so they can become persistent students and achieve success.
APSSP is a UFIT grant funded program that pays for coordinators, advisors, counselors, personal tutors, the first year or first three semesters of college, which includes books and tuition, the first year or three semesters of on-campus housing, and a monthly allowance in a student account card that can be used for any clothing, retail or dining place located on campus.
In the monthly allowance, there will be specifically enough money included to eat at least once a day in a dining hall on campus, preferably the students choose the buffet style dining halls. If the monthly allowance is not enough, the freshmen can apply in writing for an increase. The incoming freshmen will have to apply for this scholarship program and their acceptance will be based on their high school resume, including GPA, test scores, teacher recommendations, household income and an essay that explains why they would benefit from this particular scholarship program.
Race or gender is not a factor; the applicants will all be looked at equally. The students will have to sign a contract and will be held accountable with their grades and their progress. The students will submit their grades to their personal tutors and if needed the tutors will provide assistance. The tutors will meet at least once a week with their student and then provide feedback to the scholarship coordinators and counselors. The counselors and coordinators will work with the school academic and guidance counselors and coordinators to support the students entering this scholarship program.
The students must attend all of the support programs (campus orientations, study groups, etc) that the scholarship program sees as critical to student development. The scholarship program will work in accordance with the directors or coordinators of all the support programs to confirm the students’ attendance.
For research, statistics and filing purposes, the scholarship program will keep track of all student spending by obtaining receipts from the monthly allowance card transactions, transcripts from each semester, book fees and tuition statements, letters of complaints and of need, entrance essays, resumes, high school transcripts, tutor/coordinator/counselor letters, attendance documents. Our assessment of APSSP students will not only consist of their academic progression but of their social progression too.
The personal tutors, coordinators, advisors and counselors will have access to every grade and syllabus of their student. During the student and personal tutor meetings, the student will inform the tutor what organizations or clubs they have interest in and what other activities are keeping them socially healthy. There will be a student feedback form given to the tutors and coordinators to see how effective the tutor was or how ineffective they were and in what areas they can improve in to become more effective.
When the students leave APSSP and continue their schooling at UFIT, we will request them to fill out surveys on APSSP improvement. We will also ask for volunteers to give out their contact information just in case the incoming freshmen have more questions about APSSP or UFIT and they can’t get a hold of any of the counselors, tutors, advisors or coordinators.
APSSP’s Target Group
Low income, incoming 17-19 year old freshmen not only have to deal with financial issues but developmental issues as well. College is a setting where many students find themselves or better realize who they are. Transitioning from high school to college is not only a challenge academically but it can be a challenge emotionally, socially, financially and even spiritually. All students progress or mature at a different rate but the goal is to make sure they have the support there when needed.
APSSP’s Target Group
Institutions have opportunities to design environments and activities that are supportive of particular subpopulations, such as first generation and low income students. Since many students in this population tend to be at greater risk for attrition, effective programs may play a strategic role in an institution’s overall retention strategy.
[Students] from families in lower income quartiles are far less likely than those in higher income quartiles to earn a bachelor’s degree by the age of 24. (Thayer 2000).
Chickering’s theories of student identity development can be applied to my scholarship program towards the students’ success and persistence.
The first vector, developing competence, includes tasks that focus on developing the intellectual, physical and interpersonal competence. The academic support service is already in place; the scholarship program has an academic tutor, and academic counselor and an academic coordinator to assist the student with his or her academic needs. The personal tutor is real beneficial here in that it’s a one on one style of learning.
There’s direct feedback; when the student ask for help, they get it, and then the tutor checks for understanding of the subject and or methods of the problems.
Managing emotions is the vector that consists of students learning how to understand, acknowledge and articulate their emotions. The scholarship program only pays for on-campus housing due in part because on campus dorms and apartments have residential advisors and other students that can help control one’s emotions. Also living on campus makes you more aware of what’s going on and what’s offered as far as support groups and services.
Moving through Autonomy toward Interdependence is the third vector and deals with students learning how to be emotionally independent and also exhibiting problem solving abilities and initiative. Low income, incoming 17-19 year old freshmen usually have a support group back home whether it is their parents, guardians, high school coaches/teachers, friends, who they share and depend on emotionally 24/7. Once you enter college the emotions may be the same but you won’t have that same comfort level because you are now growing up and realizing that you’re usual support group can’t be with you all the time.
Vector 3 cont’d
The scholarship program mandates attendance to different support programs like campus orientation, residential orientation and other orientations that explain the difficulties of the transition into post secondary school and how to overcome them. They assist you with your self direction and allow you to realize what factors can facilitate or hinder that path.
The developing mature interpersonal relationships vector consists of acceptance and tolerance of others. This vector also establishes that students are competent in developing long term intimate relationships. Student services could set up a meet and greet with different programs or work along with Greek life (Sororities and Fraternities) to come up with socials for new students, or more specifically our scholarship program students.
Vector 4 cont’d
Another reason why we mandate attendance to the different orientations is because our students can learn more about the social life of campus and all the diverse groups and organizations. Another reason why we mandate on campus housing is because you cannot choose your roommate (as far as ethnicity/race).
Vector 4 cont’d
If you are a white Irish American and you end up sharing a room with an African American and a Vietnamese American, you will quickly have to accept and tolerate them; otherwise you will not enjoy your first year on campus. A bond can grow from living with diverse roommates and a strong friendship or appreciation can form and negative views may change of a certain race and you may just throw the stereotypes out the door: This is all part of developing.
The establishing identity vector deals with a sense of one’s self. Students are more comfortable with their sexuality, lifestyle, heritage, social roles and physical appearance. Student services can establish different student groups ranging from incoming freshman to seniors. These groups can be based on gender, social and whatever problems are facing post secondary students. Our scholarship program may focus just on low income, incoming 17 to 19 year old freshmen but the campus is filled with all kinds of students and other people.
Vector 5 cont’d
That’s why we mandate attendance to the orientations and on campus housing; those are two reliable sources filled with information on different groups or services that can help you establish identity. We also have counselors if the students need more direction or if they have any issues with finding themselves.
Vectors 6 & 7
Developing purpose and developing integrity are vectors that establish that the students make and follow through with their own decisions. Our scholarship program provides counselors and support that can help you locate self help groups and career planning committees. The academic counselor also helps you keep track in your program and makes sure you are progressing for future classes.
Vectors 6 & 7 cont’d
The other purpose of developing integrity is that the student understands more about their core values: beliefs, non beliefs. After the students’ first year of school (after they leave our scholarship program) they will have a better respect for others and other’s ways of life. Our students can develop the mindset of being a leader, tolerating others and thinking more about not only what’s wrong but why it is wrong and how can I make it right.
There are several reasons why some institutions have adopted strategies to improve retention rates for students from [ ] low income backgrounds: They may be among those at highest risk for dropping out; Second, attention to students from [ ] low income backgrounds often help institutions to address their commitment to racial and cultural diversity; Finally institutions often discover that the strategies that are effective for increasing persistence of [ ] low income students are also successful in increasing the persistence rates of the general campus populations as well. (Thayer 2000)
[He] also states in order for you to be successful, you must also address the obstacles often associated with low income [families]. These obstacles include lack of financial resources: lack of knowledge of the campus environment, its academic expectations and bureaucratic operations: lack of adequate academic preparation: and lack of family support. (2000)
APSSP does a lot to cater to the low income students: we are actually paying for their first year of college. Not only that but we help them by providing academic and social support or we guide them to where they can get those supports. High retention rate is one of our goals and this program should positively effect the incoming freshmen and make them want to return and finish their degree.
To achieve the outcomes set forth we have tutors, academic advisors and coordinators responsible for the tutoring, financial aid, counseling, orientations, study groups. It’s a total group effort that makes this scholarship program effective.
The whole goal of the scholarship program for low income, incoming 17 to 19 year old freshmen is to give them enough support so they can become persistent students and achieve success. With this there are positive retention, graduation, and recruitment rates. Retention rates commonly measure the percentage of freshmen that re-enroll the next academic year as sophomores.
The primary reason that retention rates, along with graduation rates, are important is that retention rates are perceived as indicators of academic quality and student success. In addition to retention, persistence, a student’s continuation behavior leading to a desired goal, helps describe processes related to student goal achievement (Arnold 1999).
Social and Emotional [programs] and skill development should occur within a supportive learning environment, as well as help produce such a climate. As a result opportunities for a reward are created and social and emotional learning competencies are developed and reinforced. These enablers in return lead to more assets and greater attachment and engagement in school. The final outcome is improved performance in school and life. (Zins) [There’s also] research on positive outcomes of college and on the diverse needs of students making up today's student population [that] suggests a new look at advising is needed.
Findings link academic advising directly and indirectly to contact between faculty and students and persistence in college. For example, involvement influences learning and defines effective institutions as those having the capacity to involve students (Astin 1984). Research also indicates that frequent and meaningful contact with [faculty] members, especially contact focusing on intellectual or career-related issues, seems to increase students' involvement and motivation (Astin 1984; Pascarella 1980, 1985; Terenzini, Pascarella, and Lorang 1982; Tinto 1987).
These results can be important to advisers, for they have the capacity to increase meaningful contact with students and to encourage them to persist in college.(Frost)
Our scholarship program includes not only personal tutors for the 17-19 year old low income, incoming freshmen, but also counselors, guidance and academic, who will give support to the students as needed. Advisers can also respond to students who are in stages of transition. Regardless of age or personal situation, some students do not "fit" easily into college life-freshmen, students with undecided majors, transfer students, and adult students, for example[:]Advising freshmen is especially important. Academic integration seems to influence freshmen's development of academic skills (Tinto 1987).
Advisers who facilitate assimilation to college understand factors affecting freshmen's fit and persistence. They share responsibility for advising with students and begin educational and career planning. (Frost) The inability to obtain needed advice during the first year or at the point of changing majors can undermine motivation, increase the likelihood of departure, and for those who continue, result in increased time to degree completion (Frost).
Though students may make credit progress, they do not make substantial degree-credit progress. The advisers we provide from our scholarship program will work together with the university’s advisors to make sure our students get the best support possible; they all will share responsibility for supporting and guiding our students which in result will lead to graduation
Support is a condition that promotes student success. Research points to three types of support that promote success: academic, social, and financial. Regarding academic support, it is unfortunately the case that more than a few students enter the university insufficiently prepared for the rigors of university study. For them, as well as for others, the availability of academic support in the form of developmental education courses, tutoring, study groups, and academic support programs such as supplemental instruction is an important condition for their continuation in the university.
So also is the availability of social support in the form of counseling, mentoring, and ethnic student centers. Such centers provide much needed support for individual students and a safe haven for groups of students who might otherwise find themselves out of place in a setting where they are a distinct minority. For new students, these centers can serve as secure, knowable ports of entry that enable students to safely navigate the unfamiliar terrain of the university.(Pusser, Tinto 2006)
My scholarship program provides all the mentioned above in the research from Pusser and Tinto. APSSP’s mission is clear and we focus on giving financial, social and academic support to our specific freshmen group. UFIT is a tough school to get into and the courses (especially the core math and sciences) are very challenging. With all the extra support from APSSP that UFIT doesn’t provide, students should feel more comfortable with their academic environment. Retention and graduation rates can be high with the help of our program and hopefully recruitment will be easier after the success of our students that utilized our scholarship.
Financial aid develops a more even playing field between low-income and affluent students attending college. [It also] helps students mesh into the academic and social setting of an institution [and] influences students’ commitment to stay in college (Arnold 1999). Our scholarship program will undoubtedly provide the financial support for the 17- 19 year old low income, incoming freshman. They will not have to worry about their cost their first year and our program also introduces them to the more social aspects of college. At $700 per credit, this scholarship should be a major relief to not only the students but their parents as well.
Our yearly budget is $100, 000
Our personal tutors will make their income from this allotted money. The counselors, advisors and coordinators get their salaries and incentive pay from UFIT. Only the personal tutors receive their pay from the $100,000. The majority of the budget is focused on the students.
The scholarships pay the first year or first three semesters of college, which includes books and tuition, the first year or three semesters of on-campus housing, and a monthly allowance in a student account card that can be used for any clothing, retail or dining place located on campus.
In the monthly allowance, there will be specifically enough money included to eat at least once a day in a dining hall on campus; preferably the students choose the buffet style dining halls.
Part of the money that’s focused on the student goes toward laptops and printers. Each year the coordinators work with Best Buy and Apple Inc. to purchase laptops for at least 40% off of the price. The two companies willingly assist with the plan and appreciate helping a top rated university and its incoming students.
The laptops and printers are then brought to the attention of the target group and whoever needs it buys it. With the laptops the freshmen can have easier and quicker access to their emails and support websites.
Dr. Frazier understood and enjoyed APSSP’s plan and purpose. He stated that this is a very real issue most Universities deal with.
The one recommendation he had was to have the APSSP team (mainly the coordinators and counselors) have more contact with the parents or guardians of the target group.
His basis was the fact that most of the incoming freshmen would be homesick and their guardians or parents would already want to know about their “little babies” so why not just have a parental involvement program that consisted of weekly check ups and phone/email meetings with the APSSP team.
I thought it would be counter productive to include parents or guardians in weekly meetings with the APSSP team.
Chickering’s ‘Moving through Autonomy toward Interdependence’ is the third vector and deals with students learning how to be emotionally independent and also exhibiting problem solving abilities and initiative. The student will be taking a step backward. They must learn to make their own good decisions or if their bad ones they must learn from their mistakes: College is about growing up
Arnold , Adrienne., Retentionand Persistence in Postsecondary Education A Summation of Research Studies. Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation
Astin, A.W. (1984). "Student Involvement: A Developmental Theory for Higher Education." Journal of College Student Personnel 25, 298-307.
Frost, Susan H. (96-03) Academic Advising for Student Success: A System of Shared Responsibility. RIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education , Washington, D.C.;
George Washington Univ., Washington, D.C.
Martindale, Gayla. (2010, Jan. 27). College dropout rates- Who’s to blame? Retrieved from http://www. http://www.stateuniversity.com/blog/permalink/College-Drop-Out-Rates-Who-s-to-Blame-.html.
Pusser, B., Tinto, V. (2006). Moving from Theory to Action: Building a Model for Institutional Action for Student Success.
Terenzini, P.T., E.T. Pascarella, and W.G. Lorang. (1982). "An Assessment of the Academic and Social Influences on Freshman Year Educational Outcomes." Review of Higher Education 5: 86-109.
Thayer, Paul B. (2000). Retention of Students from First Generation and Low Income Backgrounds. Department of Education and National TRIO Clearinghouse , Washington, D.C. 2-9.
Zins, Joseph E. (2004) Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? Teacher’s College Press , Amsterdam Ave, NY.