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Degree Completion & Retention Plan

DCR Plan

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Factor 3: Financial Aid Policies & Incentives

Students routinely cite financial issues and related demands as reasons they leave EMU. National data also supports a lack of financial resources as one of the primary reasons students depart from college or do not perform at their highest academic levels. A substantial proportion of EMU students are eligible for Pell Grants (a needs-based form of financial aid) and other incentives.

Recommended Key Actions:

1. Conduct a strategic assessment of student enrollment patterns and attitudes with the goal of better understanding why students stop-out and depart from EMU.  Students often point to financial reasons for departing school.  The university needs a comprehensive data driven understanding of why students stay at EMU and why students leave temporary or permanently.  Aid packages will only be successful to the degree they are tailored to the real needs of students, especially those most at risk.  It is critical that this be reviewed with Faculty Senate and their recommendations sought for how to address the data gathered.

2. Restructure Gift Aid to Scholarships in order to incentivize academic success and progress to degree.  Awards would still have a need based element to them, but students would also be expected to meet academic criteria to maintain or earn back aid eligibility.

3. Evaluate, streamline and improve the aid appeal process - Communication planning, analysis and possible expansion of "earn back" opportunities.

4. Investigate Graduation and Academic Incentives: EMU should investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of programs that provide students financial incentives to finish their degrees in a timely and academically challenging fashion. These programs should include block tuition models (rather than straight per credit hour charges for tuition and fees), differential program tuition based on cost and market demand for program, reward payments for timely degree completion, unique study abroad support models and institutional loan or savings programs that allow parents and students to pre-pay or re-structure payments over differing time periods.

5. Expand and publicize the CAP Program:  EMU should consider expanding this program that allows students to work at the University in exchange for free room and board.

6. Enhance facilities and technology in order to deliver information and services to students in an effective and accessible manner: Many offices on campus currently provide a good deal of material online for student review and use including forms, explanatory materials and video clips and contact information. These resources need to be enhanced to allow for a new, more comprehensive and individualized level of service to students. These enhancements should include the ability to easily target communications to particular groups of students at times and through means most likely to communicate messages effectively. They should include easy access to social media tools and recognize the evolving nature of modern technology and preferred modes of student communication (e.g. texting, mobile devices, real time video chats, etc.).

 

Degree Completion & Retention Plan, Academic & Student Affairs, 106 Welch Hall 734.487.3200