Innovative Strategies Address College Attrition Rates

NNEDLearn 2014 Participant: Stillman College

Description: The staff at Stillman College introduced programs to curb students’ attrition rates. Programs include:

  • Textbook Rental Program
  • Law Enforcement and Stillman Partnership
  • Bridging First Year’s College Experience
  • Creating a Culturally Competent Wellness Model
  • Embracing Cultural Diversity/Creating Global Citizens

Population of focus: Students enrolled in Stillman College

Setting: School

Level of focus: Individual

Background: The Textbook Rental Program was implemented to address the following concerns — escalating cost of textbooks ($300-$900 per semester), students entering class without textbooks, students’ academic failure rate, increased attrition.

The Community Law Enforcement and Stillman Partnership was developed to help students who were unable to pay traffic citations. It also helped to foster relationships between college students and law enforcement, and addressed a lack of law enforcement role models.

The Bridging First Year’s College Experience program helped reduce the attrition rate from freshman to sophomore year, declining grade point averages of freshman students, and excessive absences among freshman students.

Creating a Culturally Competent Wellness Model was instituted to improve students’ narrow concept of wellness and their attempts to compartmentalize their academic, emotional, physical, and financial lives; stigma and lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans; and a belief that one person’s actions do not matter.

The Embracing Cultural Diversity/Creating Global Citizens program addressed the issues of a homogenous student population at Stillman College, their lack of exposure to other cultures, a fear of “differences”, and an inability to move from the “comfort zone”.