8 Unique Student Retention Initiatives at MSIs

By Jennifer Yang & Stephanie Mayo

Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features MSIs that provide programs and initiatives to support the retention and graduation rates of their students.

1.) North Carolina A&T State University – HBCU

North Carolina A&T State University

With an average retention rate of 73.3%, North Carolina A&T’s retention program provides excellent academic advising, referring students to services on and off campus to ensure they are supported holistically. NC A&T also works extensively with various programs such as the Academy for Teaching and Learning, deans across campus, department chairs and faculty to improve class instruction in high-failure classes.


2.) California State University, Sacramento  – AANAPISI

Sacramento State

Sacramento State currently has a retention rate of 81.3%. Recently, it established a retention program to provide a strong academic support system for Asian American and Pacific Islander students. Their Full Circle Project (FCP) works with several departments on campus to increase the AAPI graduation rate through academic support, leadership opportunities and community engagement.


3.) Angelo State University – HSI

Angelo State University

Angelos State supports the retention and graduation rates of Hispanic and low-income students by improving the academic and support structure at ASU. They support students to overcome barriers with English and math by strengthening academic support and faculty development and emphasizing outreach and service to all Hispanic students.


4.) Navajo Technical University – TCU

Navajo Technical College

Navajo Tech has a retention rate of 83.3% due in part to the school culture built from its ideology that education strengthens the Navajo tribe. This ideology is transformed into the rigorous curriculum provided to students. Additionally, Navajo Tech provides high school students the opportunity to participate in the Dual Credit Program. The Dual Credit Program permits students to take college-credit courses to fulfill high school requirements, while attaining essential skills for the undergraduate realm.


5.)  UMass Boston – AANAPISI


At UMass Boston, the Asian American Student Success Program (AASSP) works collectively with faculty, staff, students and the community to provide the best support for their students. They focus on strengthening their retention services and recruitment program as well as expanding their resources to help low-income, first-generation and underrepresented AAPI students.


6.) Spelman College – HBCU

Spelman College

Ranked 1st among HBCUs in graduation rates according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Spelman College attributes part of its success to its implemented curricular program. Spelman’s My Integrated Learning Experience (MILE) develops students by framing their education as a path to becoming global leaders. Thus, Spelman continuously provides academic and extracurricular support and resources to encourage students to engage critically with the world inside and outside the classroom.


7.) Leech Lake Tribal College – TCU

Leech Lake Technical College

Considered 7th on its list of Top Community Colleges arranged by College Atlas, Leech Lake Tribal College is considered a prestigious school among TCUs. The initiatives Leech Lake has make the campus feel “a home away from home” for students. Anishinaabe values are embedded in the lessons inside the classroom and in the activities provided to students outside of class. In class, faculty connect lessons with the culture of the Anishinaabe to engage the student population profoundly. Outside of class, the school facilitates traditional Anishinaabe events, such as pipe ceremonies and Big Drum ceremonies.


8.) University of California, Santa Cruz – HSI

UC Santa Cruz

Ranked as the top HSI according to Best Colleges, University of California –Santa Cruz has a retention rate of 89%. UCSC provides Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) for low-income, first-generation college students and/or students who come from under-resourced high schools to graduate. One program is the Bridge Program, which guides first-year students transition into college by providing a support system facilitated by faculty members and upper-class students. Another program is the Graduate Information Program (GIP) which mentors students in applying to graduate school.

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