About the Office of Student Success and Retention
The purpose of the Morgan State University Office of Student Success and Retention is to work in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Engineering, the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, the School of Business and Management, the School of Education and Urban Studies, the School Community and Public Health, the School of Architecture and Planning, the School of Social Work, the School of Global Journalism and Communication, and the various academic support programs of the University to provide continuous, quality support for undergraduate students from matriculation to graduation. The goal of this comprehensive program is to increase student retention rates and persistence to graduation with a focus on academic success and achievement through early intervention and systematic tracking of undergraduate students. Listed below are the Campus-Wide Retention Initiatives:
- Summer Programs for Freshmen - facilitating the mandatory ACCESS Orientation Program and PACE
- Early Alert & Response System/Starfish--assisting faculty with intervention for students performing below expectations
- Placement Testing (Accuplacer) - proctoring, scoring & disseminating 1,200-1,600 tests per academic year
- Disability Support Services (SASS) - managing reasonable accommodations with University faculty & staff
- Academic Recovery Program - engaging and rehabilitating students who are eligible for dismissal/suspension
- Alumni Mentoring program - pairing freshmen with alumni volunteers to foster networking
- Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) - participating in the nation-wide longitudinal cohort of institutions
- Academic Advisement for First-time Freshmen -- (Summer & Fall semesters only of the first year)
- Mid-term grades of "D" or "F" - monitoring & intervening with students to prevent final grades of "D" or "F"
- Final grades of "D" or "F" - monitoring & intervening with students to replace grades with "C" grades or better
- Academic Probation - monitoring & intervening with students to restore Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Financial Literacy - providing a financial education curriculum designed to enhance students' financial skills
- Financial Aid Probation - working to reduce number of students ineligible to receive financial aid
- FAFSA filing campaign -working to reduce the number students with incomplete or late FAFSA applications
- Students Dropped for Failure to Make Satisfactory Financial Arrangements - reinstating as many as possible
- No Longer Enrolled Students -- tracking and follow-up of student registration, withdrawals, and stop-outs
- Parents' 411 newsletter - mailing to the permanent address of all undergraduate students each semester
- University Guide - publishing an annual comprehensive campus resource manual for students and parents
- Retention Research & Student Surveys - participating in national benchmarking & campus research/surveys
- Peer Tutoring - coordinating programs in the academic schools/departments
In just three short years, Morgan State University has increased its retention rate from 67% to 73% for three consecutive cohorts. This was achieved through a combination of early intervention strategies, systematic tracking and monitoring, and academic coaching and mentoring. Although the University's graduation rate has been consistently hovering around 34% over the past ten years, each specific retention initiative at the University is evaluated annually based on cohort participation. For example, PACE students are five times more likely to test out of developmental MATH 106 than their peers who do not participate. Specific measures are used on an annual basis to evaluate every program and initiative sponsored by the OSSR. And, the overall results show that when students participate in targeted retention programs and initiatives, they earn higher GPAs and have higher retention and graduation rates.
The current academic year has been extremely productive for the Office of Student Success and Retention (OSSR). The OSSR has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the implementation of Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) technology. As one of only 19 selected institutions and the only HBCU, Morgan has partnered with Starfish Retention Solutions to automate its Early Alert and Response System (EARS) for faculty staff, and students. IPAS technology has enhanced advising and provided sophisticated, yet user friendly, tracking and monitoring systems for the University. Morgan also is serving as one of the six funded institutions to participate in an intense research cohort to be evaluated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for effective implementation and integration of IPAS technology. Additionally, the OSSR continued the "Reclamation" Initiative. This innovative project creates an opportunity for students who leave the University in good academic standing with a 2.0 GPA or better and have earned at least 90 credits to return in their 5th or 6th academic year to finish Morgan "on-time" in six consecutive years or less. Morgan State University's Reclamation Initiative, now in its 4th year of implementation, has reached out to 40 students from the incoming Fall 2006 freshman cohort, 31 students from the incoming Fall 2007 freshman cohort, and 42 students from the incoming Fall 2008 freshman cohort, resulting in the re-enrollment of 54 students.