Returning Student & Retention Grants
Amanda Corsi, Associate Registrar
Jen Long, Director, Career Development
Marci Major, Chair, Department of Music Education and Music Therapy, Associate Professor in Music Education
Michael Bray, Academic Agreements and Contracts Coordinator
Stevie Grassetti, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Harry Holt, Associate Professor of Health
Lindsey Mosvick, Associate Director, Center for Women and Gender Equity
Margaret Ottley, Professor of Sports Psychology
Stephanie Reid, Business Manager, College of Arts and Humanities
Jennifer Ruggiero-Patel, Assistant Director, New Student Programs
Carolyn Sorisio, Professor of Literature
Lisa Yannick, Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness and Planning
Financial holds are intended to ensure collection of owed balances but often do just the opposite. Students who leave because of holds often do not return to pay their bills. Worse, even relatively small financial setbacks can mean the difference between completing courses and dropping out. (Student Success Playbook, Rec. 2, EAB)
WCU will develop plans and processes to award mini-grants or other financial assistance to address small account balances for qualified students. The Participating Institution will set the amount and determine the administrative process for assigning such grants or awards. Student accounts will be reviewed regularly, with grants provided strategically and proactively.
August 2023: The Retention Grants team started the year talking about equity more broadly, listening
to each other's experiences with equity and using that as a foundation to move forward
with the Retention Grants work. After diving into the data and calculating equity
gaps in students with tuition balances not returning to WCU, we identified our two
focus areas: Black students with a tuition balance (any amount), and Latin(o)(a) students
with a tuition balance greater than $1,000. This allowed us to refine our inquiry
process, and we used mixed methods by way of several interviews and a survey to collect
data that will ultimately inform our recommendations for closing those gaps.
Our next steps in the short term are using the themes from our data collection to submit recommendations to the Advisory Board and Leadership Team. Longer term, the team is interested in exploring non-tuition expenses that affect student retention, and how grants could have an impact there as well.
September 2022: We recently started to look at the data provided by WCU, however, we realized that we need to spend more time building relationships and trust within the group, so that we can have more meaningful conversations.