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.
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.
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).
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).
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.