HUNTINGTON, IN DECEMBER 16, 1996 --- Huntington College today announced its second grant in as many days from Lilly Endowment Inc. The College will receive $50,000 to launch a comprehensive retention study aimed at boosting the number of students who complete their college education. The news follows yesterday's announcement of a $172,000 grant for the College's youth ministry program.
"Retention is a key component to overall enrollment growth, and is therefore an important part of Huntington College's strategic long-range plan," explained Jeff Berggren, executive director of admissions and financial aid. Huntington College aims to increase enrollment from the current 745 to 1,000 students by the end of the decade.
"Huntington College is currently participating in a statewide retention study sponsored by the Independent Colleges of Indiana," Berggren said. "This new Endowment-funded initiative will help expand the scope of that study and help us continue to boost retention rates at Huntington College."
Huntington College retention is already well above national averages for schools of its type, noted Berggren. While freshman-to-sophomore retention rates average just over 60% among American private colleges and universities, the same figure at Huntington College since 1993 has been consistently above 70% and has been as high as 76%.
The study will enable Huntington College to construct a comprehensive plan to retain more students through their senior year. The implementation phase of that plan would be eligible for additional Endowment funding, up to $500,000.
"Lilly Endowment invited us to participate in this planning project," explained Dr. Gerald Smith, vice president and dean of the college. "The purpose of this grant is to prepare a larger proposal, based on this planning, that would address the intent of Lilly Endowment to bring about improved retention of Indiana college students in private institutions."
Smith will direct the project. A planning group including both faculty and staff will begin work in January by first reviewing the scope of retention efforts already in place and reviewing the work of the Independent College's task force on retention.
"Our preliminary expectation is that we will identify at least two broad categories of factors that impact retention: student academic preparedness and student satisfaction," explained Smith. "The planning group will examine existing data and review the use of surveys to identify the most promising directions for the next phases of the project."
Huntington College was founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. For nearly a century, Huntington College has offered high-quality academic programs "to equip men and women to impact our world for Christ." Located on a contemporary, wooded campus in Huntington, Indiana, the four-year liberal arts college offers graduate and undergraduate programs in nearly 50 academic concentrations.
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