Student Success Update Spring 2017

Filed Under: President's Post, Featured Articles

Our collective Quest for Student Success efforts are designed to ensure that every student who comes to MTSU with the drive to achieve is met with the best instruction from excellent professors who care for their success, and provide extra support and assistance when our students encounter unexpected difficulties or when roadblocks arise that negatively affect their persistence toward graduation.

We are excelling in the areas of retention and graduation over the past few years. Here are the latest updates on our student success efforts.

MTSU Spring 2017 Budget Update•Our full-time freshman retention rate increased to 76.1 percent for the Fall 2016 semester, up from 68.7 percent for Fall 2013. This increase of nearly 11 percent over the past three years is the fastest rate of increase in the history of the institution. This also represents the highest freshman retention rate in the history of MTSU, based on available data.

•The new transfer student retention rate rose to 73.8 percent, an increase of 4.7 percent in the same three-year period.

•Our sophomore retention rate increased to 80.6 percent, up 3.1 percent between the Fall 2013 and Fall 2016 semesters.

•The percentage of freshmen completing at least 30 hours during their first two semesters of study increased to 50.4 percent during the 2015–16 academic year. Just two years prior, only 42 percent of freshmen completed at least 30 hours. This means that more freshmen are on track to finish their degrees in four years, an accomplishment in sync with both state and national initiatives.

•In summer 2016, a record 312 new students participated in the Scholars Academy, a two-week summer bridge, early-arrival program designed to enhance the success of at-risk students. One in every 10 MTSU new freshmen, therefore, participated in the Scholars Academy support program. The average retention rate for students who went through the Scholars Academy is 83 percent, well above that for other students. In addition, 54 percent of students in the Scholars Academy completed at least 30 hours in their first year of study, a rate that surpasses that of other students.

•Free tutoring was available during the Fall 2016 semester for more than 200 courses, a new record level of support at MTSU. More importantly, more students are going for tutoring and spending more hours in tutoring sessions, while tutoring usage already has surpassed that of all last year. The total number of tutoring sessions increased by 20 percent for Fall 2016 compared to Fall 2015. The number of hours spent by students in tutoring sessions increased by 23 percent from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016.

•MTSU was invited to join 44 other leading universities from across the country to participate in the Re-Imagining the First Year (RFY) initiative last semester. This initiative, sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to increase student success rates by focusing on improving the first-year experience for students. MTSU’s participation in RFY was made possible by a special invitation from AASCU.

•A Supplemental Instruction (SI) pilot program was implemented starting with the Fall 2016 semester. The program provides students enrolled in some of MTSU’s most challenging courses with additional instructional support. MTSU’s SI kickoff, like so many initiatives at the University, was “big,” involving 21 course sections, across three colleges, and serving more than 1,500 students. The program is already showing very promising results and has the support of our faculty and students.

•After receiving requests from students and others, our Office of Student Success started offering tutoring in Study Skills and Learning Strategies during the Fall 2016 semester. Early results show that Study Skills tutoring has a significant and positive impact on students who went for Study Skills tutoring compared to a matched sample of those who did not.

•MTSU launched the SSC Campus student information and analytics system, which is an important tool used by multiple campus partners in their work with current MTSU students, in March 2016. The very successful launch of this powerful technology platform, developed and supported by the Education Advisory Board (EAB), represents the culmination of many months of ongoing planning and coordinated efforts across multiple University divisions. For an introduction to SSC Campus, contact Brian Hinote in the MTSU Office of Student Success at

•MTSU continues to be studied by other entities with an interest in learning more about the Quest for Student Success. Visits have been made by representatives from the Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Community College Resource Center at Columbia University.

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