As part of its ongoing efforts to increase degree completion, APLU named Arizona State University; the University of Memphis; the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Rhode Island; and Wayne State University as finalists for its 2018 Degree Completion Award. The annual prize works to identify, recognize, and reward institutions that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion. One of the five finalists will be named the 2018 Degree Completion Award winner during the APLU Annual Meeting, November 11-13, in New Orleans, Louisiana. In this third of a five-part series, APLU profiles University of Nevada, Reno’s efforts to improve retention and degree completion.
The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) created a five-day academic boot camp for incoming freshman to increase academic success for new students. The boot camp, NevadaFIT, provides rigorous and realistic exposure to college-level classes so students know what to expect on the first day of class. It also eases them into the style, pace, and intensity of college courses.
Students in the program are organized into groups of six that are guided by an undergraduate mentor who forms a relationship with the students that lasts beyond the five-day boot camp. Starting in 2013 with 48 biology students, the program has been expanded to include 1,600 students across all majors at the institution.
The first-year retention rate for students participating in the initiative is 87 percent, compared with 81 percent with students not participating in the initiative. NevadaFIT also produced significant gains for participating first-generation, Pell, and minority students achieving higher retention and graduation rates than the institutional rate. And the retention gap between participating and non-participating students grows over subsequent semesters. The four-year graduation rate for students in the first cohort of NevadaFIT students was 42 percent, compared with 32 percent among non-participants.
Learn more about the other 2018 Degree Completion Award finalists.