Improving Retention Rates with Microgrants

Like many growing public flagships, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville struggles with its student-retention rate. But the university is expanding a program to tackle one of its biggest challenges: first-year retention. During a visit to The Chronicle's offices, Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz said the institution last year identified students from regions with the highest need and gave them tuition assistance ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 apiece. Some students also received peer mentoring along with the tuition awards. The first-year retention rate went up by 1.6 percentage points. This year, Steinmetz said, Arkansas will increase peer mentoring and the number of microgrants it offers to reach more students.