TBR focuses on graduation rates

New Tennessee Board of Regents regulations have Tech using more retention efforts to help students graduate.TBR has enacted a phase-in process that will start Fall 2011. The process is designed to help schools across Tennessee gradually raise their graduation rates up to determine yearly funding. The goal of the legislation for the new funding formula is to increase the number of bachelor and associate degrees.

“It’s less of the number of people we graduate and more of the number of degrees we produce,” Robert Hodum, enrollment management executive director, said.

Funding will be determined on a point system. Tech will receive points every time a student reaches 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours and when they graduate.

“There are a couple of subpopulations,” Hodum said. “[When] adult students 25 years of age or older reach 24 hours, [we] will get the regular points for a student reaching that, and then we get bonus points because it was an adult.”

With Tech’s enrollment increasing every year since 2005, keeping students in school has become a bigger issue with the new regulations.

“It doesn’t mean much recruiting a student, knowing they aren’t going to make it,” Admissions Director Vanessa Palmer said. “We want to recruit students that we know can be successful.”

The learning villages set up in both New Hall North and New Hall South are retention efforts to help students find activities that get them involved with the school and to have them work with people who share the same interest. The villages are to help students and faculty feel they are part of Tech, which will lead to more successful college careers.

The shift from enrollment numbers to graduation rates not only changes funding regulations, it also changes the way students and faculty define success at Tech.