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Student Retention

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Most people go to Disney to relax and have fun. For the past three years, David Zanolla, a communication instructor at Western Illinois University, has taken students in his Disney World Communication Culture course to see the principles they learn about in class in action. "The people who needed the most convincing were the parents," he says, adding that the spring break timeframe is usually thought of as party time. But with a daily schedule of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., students have a full plate.

As students returned to campus this year, administrators had the chance to motivate them to succeed in school with findings of the most recent study on how college degrees are critical to economic opportunity. Conducted by The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, with support from the Lumina Foundation, the study found that those with a bachelor's degree now make 84 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma, up from 75 percent in 1999.

Engaged students are successful students. That is a well known fact on college campuses. The trick is encouraging that engagement, particularly for community college leaders. "About 80 percent of our students are low income," says Stephen Head, president of Lone Star College-North Harris (Texas). "Many of them are also the first in their family to attend college."

It doesn’t get greener than planting trees, and thanks to the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program, colleges and universities are being recognized for their dedication to the most literal translation of going green.

Overlooking the Hudson River, this tech center helps orient the Marist College (N.Y.) campus to the river and will help enforce the role of technology across disciplines.

The tornadoes that ripped across the South in April devastated everything in their paths. Some institutions had to close their doors before semester’s end.

Ever wonder what Facebook does with the information it collects about you? Ever wonder what you could do with that same information? Economist Richard Thaler of The University of Chicago recently raised the notion that consumers could benefit if companies would turn the data they collect over to the public. His mantra is, “It’s my data--give it back!”

The cost to enroll a student is averaging approximately $6,000 and this cost doubles with the replacement of every student lost. Due to the recent financial climate, most states are facing financial cutbacks, making student retention paramount. Top reasons for attrition include school preparedness, financial support, academic progress, dissatisfaction with support services, and social readiness. So how can we keep students on track for graduation?

It's common to find students filing papers in campus offices, restocking library shelves, or checking IDs at the fitness center to make a buck. What's a little less common is students replacing sidewalks and entranceways to dorms, building fountains, and constructing additions.

Do you believe that some of the best and brightest of the next greatest generation of college students will begin their higher ed experiences at a community college? Well, we do. That is why we reallocated over $7 million of scholarship funds and operating support at Bucknell University (Pa.) for a period of six academic years to facilitate the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program.

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