by MIKE JAMES, The DAILY Independent –
ASHLAND — Ashland Community and Technical College will hire two people to keep students in school and on track for graduation and transfer to four-year institutions.
A retention specialist will work with students who have 30 or fewer credit hours and a transfer advocate will work with students who have 31 or more hours.
ACTC received a $50,000 Kentucky coal county college completion grant to pay the cost. The grant also will pay for tutors and other resources.
The retention, completion and transfer initiative targets students from three Northeast Kentucky’s coal counties — Boyd, Lawrence and Elliott, according to director of grants and contracts Sarah Diamond Burroway.
The retention specialist will keep tabs on first-year students to make sure they are performing well academically and are well-started on the academic path, according to dean of student success and enrollment management Steve Woodburn.
The transfer advocate will take over at about the halfway mark to ensure students complete their two-year degrees, understand their four-year college options and take the appropriate steps for a smooth transfer.
“The reason for two different positions is that they are two different focuses,” Woodburn said. “The first semester is key. So many students get swallowed up that first semester . . . and sometimes students get lost in the minutiae of four-year college requirements.”
In the hectic final weeks, some students may overlook simple but necessary requirements, like applying to graduate, that can delay conferring their degree or credential, he said.
Coming up will be a kickoff event designed to get targeted students together as a cohort and get their college planning off to a good start.
A second event in the spring will review progress and evaluate needs for completing the transfer process.
About $12,000 of the grant is set aside for extended tutoring. Some tutoring already is available at ACTC and the additional money will be administered as needed for additional disciplines, Burroway said.
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