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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Minority-student retention programs successful so far

    Programs aimed toward UA students considered at high risk for dropping out have raised the retention rate for such students above state averages, according to internal research conducted by the Multicultural Affairs and Student Success office on campus.

    The UA has higher first-year retention rates of “”at-risk”” students than peer institutions in Arizona, including Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. The report further breaks down rates by different backgrounds, including black, Asian-American, American Indian, Caucasian and Hispanic.

    “”We’re doing the same thing, and it obviously has a great impact on the students.””
    – Kendal Washington White,
    interim director, Multicultural Affairs and Student Success

    UA’s first-year retention rate is 79.1 percent, while ASU’s is 79 percent and NAU’s is 69 percent. UA’s six-year graduation rate is 54.7 percent, while ASU’s is 55 percent and NAU’s is 48 percent, according to reports from the 2005-2006 school year.

    The retention and graduation rates of minority students have been improved by programs aimed at those students, said Kendal Washington White, interim director for Multicultural Affairs and Student Success.

    The programs offered by the office are successful because they place students in smaller communities that provide more personalized attention inside the UA system, much like the Honors College and the greek system, White said.

    “”We’re doing the same thing, and it obviously has a great impact on the students,”” White said.

    One program offered by Native American Student Affairs is First-Year Scholars, in which students take common classes, live in a common residence hall and participate together in social activities.

    About 40 freshmen participated in the program this year, White said.

    Another program aimed at boosting retention and graduation rates is the New Start Summer Program.

    The program, which has been operating for 38 years, brings nearly 300 freshmen to campus six weeks before the start of the semester to take classes, participate in social events and meet with older students who act as peer advisers.

    The program is open to all students regardless of race, but participants are often minority students, White said.

    “”I think that these kinds of programs help students see themselves as leaders in the campus community,”” White said. “”Our retention rates are better. We’re keeping students in school.””

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