The University of Akron is taking steps to better match some incoming students with the academic help they need to get started in their college careers.
The university will categorize incoming, first-time students as Preparatory, Emergent or College-Ready as one part of a new enrollment strategy. Students considered to be preparatory are those who are in need of more help - what those outside of higher education circles may call "remedial" - to be successful. Those students would be granted a conditional acceptance that would send them to community colleges that partner with UA.
The students would leave the community college with an associate degree, a likely grade point average of at least 2.7 and better skills that would enable to them to continue for a four-year degree.
"We know those students coming back to The University of Akron increase their odds of graduating by more than 30%," said UA Provost Dr. Mike Sherman.
Sherman says the plan will not only help students with lower-level coursework, but at a lower cost to them and to UA. Community colleges tend to be less expensive and have built-in support systems for a wider range of students than more traditional colleges and universities. Also, the university would be expending fewer resources on the additional support.
Sherman says it holds the university more accountable to the students and to the state.
Sherman says Akron may be ahead in the game by coming up with what he calls the most comprehensive study and resulting plan, but the concept is being weighed and possibly replicated.
"I think the universities in Northeastern Ohio are at different stages of making decisions along these lines," said Sherman.
Sherman says university officials are in the process of explaining the new strategy to high school guidance counselors and others in the region.
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