IU Southeast named “Model of Excellence” by University Business magazine

29th July 2016

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (July 29, 2016) – Indiana University Southeast is one of nine colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Summer 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program.

Sponsored by CASHNet, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus.

“Extra attention should not be reserved for students in immediate danger of falling behind,” says University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “Indiana University Southeast provides a thorough approach in helping students not only understand their academic obligations, but exceed them.”

As Oreo cookies and calzones have taught us, the middle is the most important part. The same goes for first-year student percentiles, Indiana University Southeast leaders wisely recognized.

“We needed to boost our first-year student interventions,” said Jason L. Meriwether, vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs, as he thought back to 2013.

Student enrollment and retention figures had incrementally declined. There seemed to be a higher-than-average percentage of first-year students leaving for other colleges or employment—or because they discovered they could not afford to stay at the university. Officials wanted to know why, so they could stem the departures.

Thanks to an in-depth study conducted by faculty, campus leaders learned that many otherwise qualified students were leaving because they had lost crucial financial aid. It was often due to a lack of understanding about course credit requirements for keeping it, or because they felt disconnected or academically overwhelmed. While many institutions have programs directed at the high- and low-achieving students, IU Southeast recognized that students in the middle—the majority— could benefit most from additional support.

“We realized students in the middle had the greatest capacity to perform; they just needed to be aware of what we offered,” Meriwether said. So administrators developed a program specifically for first-year students who needed support.

The FYRST (First Year Retention and Student Transition) program mainly targeted students who needed guidance in managing the resources they had available to them. But students also needed to know that the university cared about them. The solution? Involve professors in connecting with first-year students who had received academic flags, or warnings.

“Direct intervention from faculty was the most important aspect of creating a successful program,” Meriwether said.

Academic intervention helped students bring up their grades and increase feelings of connectedness, but that didn’t solve the lower course credits problem. And that’s where the incentives to make up course credits over the summer come in. The school quadrupled the number of online summer school programs offered, to 191, and offered a $150 grant to defray the cost of books for students who registered for six hours of summer courses.

The institution has seen a revenue increase of $539,083 from its target population taking summer courses, as well as an approximate two percent improvement in spring attrition rate since 2013, due in large measure to FYRST.

In addition to Indiana University Southeast, Summer 2016 Models of Excellence honorees include: Franklin University (Columbus, Ohio); University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha, Wisc.); LDS Business College (Salt Lake City, Utah); Christopher Newport University (Newport News, Va.); California State University San Bernardino (San Bernardino, Calif.); Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio); University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Neb.); and Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, Tenn.).

“The Summer 2016 Models of Excellence honorees demonstrate how inclusivity and personalized attention for all students benefits higher education holistically,” said Edward Worrilow, head of marketing and communications at CASHNet. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”

Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by CASHNet, a leading payment technology provider in higher education that allows institutions to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible payments plans, create online storefronts, and more all on one secure platform.

 About University Business: University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at www.universitybusiness.com.

About CASHNet: CASHNet is a leading payment technology provider of secure transaction services to over 700 campuses in higher education, reaching millions of students nationwide. Whether it’s to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible tuition payment plans, or create online storefronts, CASHNet fits everyday campus needs. As a leader in the industry for over 25 years, CASHNet has constantly evolved to create the secure and simplified experience students, payers, and administrators require. More information can be found at www.cashnet.com.

About IU Southeast:  IU Southeast is one of seven campuses of Indiana University. Offering more than 50 degree programs and concentrations, the scenic 180-acre campus is located less than 15 minutes from downtown Louisville, Kentucky. It currently has an enrollment of more than 6,000 students and employs more than 400 faculty members. About 400 students now live on campus in five fully furnished, lodge-style residence halls. For more information, visit www.ius.edu. IU Southeast is a tobacco-free campus.

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