EUREKA — Eureka College’s recent efforts to boost student success by offering online courses to those in academic jeopardy is receiving national attention.
On Tuesday, a Forbes business magazine column titled “A New Initiative Looks to Save Failing Students — and Their Colleges” put the spotlight on the positive developments that have come from Eureka College’s initiative to improve course scheduling options and better meet students’ needs.
In the piece, Tom Lindsay — a former professor and administrator who covers culture and higher education — explains how college seniors are increasingly not graduating on time. According to reports by Complete College America, the average time to attain a bachelor’s degree is 4.8 years, “with students taking, on average, more than 15 credits hours that are unnecessary to graduate.”
“Students can fall behind and have a bad semester for many different reasons,” Eureka College Provost Dr. Ann Fulop said. “One poor semester should not prevent a student from earning a degree. We used online courses in an innovative way to help students succeed.”
Last summer, Eureka College addressed this issue by joining a consortium —a single platform for accredited institutions to share online courses. This allowed students who had earned a D in, failed, or withdrew from a course, access to online courses needed to graduate or improve their GPA to stay in school.
Said Lindsay: “Before, students in such a position would make up the course at another institution, often at a community college. While the credit would transfer, the grades would not, which meant their GPA still suffered. But because these students took classes at a college within the consortium, they were able to count the credit and grades, while also receiving financial aid — and the results became manifest quickly.”
As a result, four students were able to graduate and 17 of 18 students who entered on the verge of academic probation or dismissal were able to improve their GPA and regain good academic standing.
Retaining those students who the college would have otherwise lost also led to $230,000 in additional revenue for the academic year.
Lindsay asserts that the consortium model used by Eureka College is a potential win-win for students and their schools that can “dramatically increase student completion in a timely manner and improve affordability — all while increasing institutional revenue.”
Though it has potential to become prevalent in higher education, Eureka College is proud to be an early adopter, and that its students are already reaping the benefits.