FAU focuses on student recruitment, retention and graduation

Continuing its laser-like focus on transitioning students seamlessly into the state workforce, Florida Atlantic University is investing in a number of strategic initiatives designed to enhance student success

By lisa metcalf | 2/2/2016

Florida Atlantic University is using its $11.4 million in performance funds to provide more technological and academic support, increase competitive scholarship packages and develop more programs to identify and help struggling students. These efforts include offering more scholarships and financial aid to targeted students, investing in software and personnel to track, report and analyze enrollment trends and implement interventions for students who are struggling, and increasing the number of writing consultants, math tutors and learning assistants in classes with high fail rates.

Combined, this work is expected to increase FAU’s student success, retention, and graduation rates -- all measures of the return on investment for students, families and taxpayers. The university expects both retention and graduation rates to improve by 2 percent this year, on top of last year’s gains.

“FAU is committed to perform well on the Board of Governors’ metrics, serve our students and to expand the university’s role in producing top-notch talent and research,” said FAU President John Kelly. “We serve a beautiful region, have great support from our leaders in Tallahassee and at the Board of Governors, and we sincerely believe we are on the right path for continued success.”

While working to make year-over-year improvements on the Board’s metrics, FAU is also directing a portion of its performance funding toward the goals in its 2025 Strategic Plan, which include advancing its position as a globalized, forward-thinking university with a nationally recognized culture of achievement. As part of that, FAU is working to recruit and retain top-notch faculty and increase the university’s prominence in the “pillars” it has identified as areas of opportunity and strength -- Healthy Aging, Neuroscience, Ocean Science, Engineering/Environmental Sciences, and Sensing and Smart Systems.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have showed strong support of the Board of Governors’ performance funding model, which rewards universities based on their excellence or improvement on 10 metrics--including graduation and retention rates. The model provides a financial incentive for universities to ensure students have access to the help they need, can finish their studies within a reasonable period of time, and are prepared for successful careers after graduation.

“The Board of Governors is excited to see the State University System on an upward trajectory, and we look forward to each institution continuing to meet its short-term and long-term goals,” said Tom Kuntz, Board of Governors’ Chairman. “By using their performance funds wisely, universities are demonstrating they can stay true to their missions while also improving each and every year.”