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Grant to Boost CVTC Student Retention Efforts

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Grant to Boost CVTC Student Retention Efforts

Strong focus on student success to get extra help

Eau Claire, WI – A five-year, $2.2 million grant will enable Chippewa Valley Technical College to help more students finish their college education.

The Title III Strengthening Institutions Program Grant awarded in late September through the U.S. Department of Education will increase student retention rates through a program of academic, financial, and social support systems.

“At CVTC, we have been strongly focused on student success and completion for several years,” said Rachelle Phakitthong, director of curriculum and professional development, who has been designated the grant project director. “Among the things this grant is going to do is allow us to establish a robust degree planning process by adding some new tools and allowing students to follow a guided path while monitoring their progress.”

Among the specific objectives for the grant are increasing by five percent the retention rate of part-time program students from the first semester to the second for those in one-year programs, and from the first to the second year for those in two-year programs, as well as increasing the graduation rate of new program students by the same margin.

The grant will also allow increased e-learning support for both students and faculty teaching online courses to narrow the success level gap between online and traditional delivery methods.

“Traditionally, the success rate for online students is lower than the face-to-face students,” Phakitthong said. “This will help us measure and reduce that gap.”

Another focus of the grant project is to decrease non-cognitive barriers to student success. “Many times, when we lose students, it’s not because of academic ability, but money, or some other things going on in their lives,” Phakitthong said. The grant project includes efforts to expand the capacity of the financial literacy program; additional coaching, workshops, mental health services; and greater use of less expensive open resource textbooks.

“Without this grant, these are steps we wouldn’t be able to take for some time,” Phakitthong said.

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