Invest in Success aims to retain students

Northern Kentucky University’s Invest in Success program enters its third year of existence this year.

NKU president James Votruba said the program has funded programs and services that have been established to be directly related to recruitment and retention of students.

Votruba said the program has had a major impact on both recruitment and retention rates.

“Retention levels have improved significantly and recruitment is at record levels,” he said.

The Invest in Success fees have accumulated $1.2 million in new funding over two tears, according to statistics from enrollment and management.

The statistics give a “summary of investments” to show how the funds have been divided.

Programs fully or partially funded by Invest in Success can be broken in eight major categories:Academic Advising, Cooperative Education, Developmental Programs, First-Year Programs, Student Health, Mentoring, Student Life and Student Support Services.

Part of the $1.2 million has gone to paying the salaries of personnel that have been hired for positions created since the program began and are directly related to recruitment and retention.

Examples of such positions include a University 101 coordinator and six freshman specialists.

Although these services are afforded to all students, additional attention has been placed on retention of first-year freshman. This includes the hiring of more advisers, as well as programs designed to help students excel academically.

The Learning Assistance Center alone offers three programs that are funded by the Invest in Success program – Running Start, Supplemental Instruction and the Math Center.

Paul Ellis, director of the LAC, explained Running Start is a summer program for first time students with academic weaknesses.

“They get an opportunity to address those weaknesses prior to the first full semester,” he said.

Supplemental Instruction is a program where a student who has already taken a class retakes the course and conducts three review sessions out of class per week.

Ellis said the Math Center gives academic support for students in mathematics.

“All of these programs, in theory, help students learn better,” he said.

Ellis said Running Start was in existence before Invest in Success began. However, Ellis said, the funding was shifted after the start of the Invest In Success program. He added that the Math Lab and Supplemental Instruction both get $40,000 per year.

Votruba said they are continuing to monitor the success of the program to make sure they are achieving the desired goals.

“I believe that those investments are here to stay. They are serving the purpose for which they were intended,” he said.