Two Wittenberg University administrators have teamed up to to better understand why certain students have trouble transitioning from high school to college. The academic duo helped the university land one of 19 College Success Grants to fund their study.
Mary Jo Zembar and Jon Duraj recently secured nearly $200,000 in funding from the non-profit Great Lakes Community Investments Corporation.
Duraj shared that part of the funding will be used to hire three first-year success advisers, who will be asking students tough questions that go beyond traditional academics.
"What was their high school experience like, what was their home experience like, what are they doing outside of the classroom here at Wittenberg?" Duraj said. "What are their goals - short term, long term, career, vocational goals - that they have as they enter college and how do we really help get them started on the right foot?"
Zembar thinks the grant will help address how money plays a large part in a student's success or failure at Wittenberg.
"One of the trends that you see is that income often is a very strong predictor of who finishes for a four-year college degree," she said.
The Great Lakes Community Investments Corporation awarded nearly $3 million in College Success Grants this year.
Each college or university had to show it has a commitment to identifying at risk students and then helping them get back on track academically.