UNC Greensboro is one of six UNC System institutions to receive Student Success Innovation Lab (SSIL) funding to help students complete their degrees on time.

The $200,000, two-year grant will support a pilot study focused on helping UNCG sophomores and juniors who likely have financial need and are not progressing in their intended majors.

Starting next fall, 300 students will be paired with transitional advisors who will work with students to help them understand the academic and financial implications of their current paths, as well as identify alternative options that still align with their career and life goals. Students will also receive a small financial incentive that can be applied to their financial aid packages.

The program will be evaluated after one year, with the hopes of expanding the program and making appropriate curricular and policy changes based on the findings.

“I am excited about the potential of this pilot project to shape our decisions about curricular structure and major progression markers to help students, and their success networks, track progress toward their degree,” said UNCG Provost Dana Dunn. “This will be a horizon-broadening experience for students that will show the multiple pathways to achieving their career goals.”

SSL is a new UNC System initiative designed to help universities develop and test new strategies for promoting student success. Grants support innovative practices in three areas: teaching and learning, student services, and financial aid. Individual initiatives that prove successful can be scaled up at the home institution and, in some cases, expanded across the UNC System.

UNCG’s project, titled “Disrupting the Churn: The Effects of Targeted Supports on Late College Outcomes,” is led by Dr. Samantha Raynor in the Division of Student Success and Dr. Steven Hemelt, from UNC Chapel Hill, who will serve as the evaluator. The project is supported by a team that includes Dana Saunders in the Students First Office, Deborah Tollefson and John Lucas in the Financial Aid Office, and Samantha Bradley in the Office of Institutional Research.

In addition to the implementation program, UNCG’s Dr. Dora Givecha (Dept. of Economics) and Dr. Julie Edmunds (SERVE Center, Dept. of Educational Research Methodology) will serve as evaluators for pilot studies at other institutions.

SSIL is funded by the ECMC Foundation, the John M. Belk Endowment, Arnold Ventures and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. To learn more about SSIL, visit the UNC System website.

 

Photography by Grant Evan Gilliard, University Communications