Youngstown State University has identified a number of focus areas aimed at helping the institution improve graduation and course completion rates. Although YSU attracts bright students and provides a number of highly competitive programs, many students encounter challenges in achieving their goals. Ninety percent of the students are commuters, 56 percent are first-generation, and 88 percent receive financial aid. Industry research indicates that these three student populations are typically at a higher risk of not achieving academic goals.
“Because a lot of our students are first-generation, they are often unaware of the academic and financial impact of stopping classes or simply not attending,” said Jonelle Beatrice, interim executive director of student life and director of the Center for Student Progress at YSU. “Our focus has been to change the campus culture from one where students were used to withdrawing or stopping out to one where students are informed of the impact of their actions early enough so they can make better decisions.” YSU told their story in May 2013.