Enrollment in the news

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Wayne State’s DetroitEd411 service gives instant access to higher education resources

Got a question about post-secondary education that you need answered right away? With Wayne State University’s newest information service, DetroitEd411, you can access information and resources about vocational training, financial aid, GED opportunities, child care and the like via Facebook Messenger. A collaboration between Wayne State and the Detroit Regional Chamber, DetroitEd411 is meant to support adult learners and promote college attainment and career readiness in Detroit. Search for the service on Messenger and be introduced to Spirit, an innovative blend of artificial intelligence and supervised machine learning, ready to answer all your questions, day or night. “One of the best things about using this adaptive technology is that we’re able to meet people wherever they are and answer questions in real time, without judgment,” says Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s vice president of enrollment management. “The amount of information Spirit is able to provide is limitless, and the database of answers and resources will only continue to grow, adapt and expand as more people take advantage of DetroitEd411.”
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Arkansas colleges differ in handling of debts

Arkansas' public universities have millions of dollars in student accounts receivable, which is money owed to them by current or former students for various expenses. The schools commonly address the debt by withholding transcripts from students. Where schools differ is in how much debt they allow students to amass before denying those students course enrollments. At Henderson State University, where a budget shortfall and news of as much as $10 million in accounts receivable drew concern from trustees and others this summer, students were allowed to each accumulate up to $4,800 in debt and continue to register for classes. Such leeway is not the norm at the state's public universities, where schools sometimes prohibit students from registering if they have any past-due account balances. Dealing with the debts can be tricky for a school that wants to recoup its expenses but not prevent students from completing their educations and later being able to pay them back. Some schools have seen the value in helping students pay off those debts. At Wayne State University, the school paid up to $1,500 to students who stopped going to classes because of their account balances, according to an Institute for Higher Education Policy report. They were able to enroll in the fall of 2018, and nine of the 56 who enrolled graduated shortly after. The school reported generating more than $200,000 in net revenue through this spring from the initiative.
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DTE Energy Foundation awards $100k to Wayne State’s Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies

The DTE Energy Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Wayne State University Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies to support its Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). Designed to improve retention and graduation rates, SEP is a college-readiness program that helps incoming first-generation and underrepresented college students acquire the key “hard” and “soft” skills needed to smoothly transition to rigorous university-level coursework. Structured as an intensive, eight-week immersion in mathematics, English composition, oral communications and cultural studies, the SEP courses and complementary learning exercises are widely regarded as pivotal to a successful academic experience. The grant, which will enable the center to continue to offer SEP over the next four years, greatly advances the university’s strategic plans to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse pool of students who will become leaders in their professions and in local communities. The program has a demonstrated record of laying a solid foundation for their competitive performance in a wide array of courses, especially those in the STEM fields. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence that the foundation has deposited on our organization’s ability to continue to assist students pursuing a cutting-edge academic degree at Wayne State University,” said Jorge L. Chinea, director of the center.
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Could dropouts be the solution to the education crisis?

The vice president for applied research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), Julie Ajinkya explained many of the underlying causes students dropout or face difficulty coming back to school have to do with the lack of affordable education. “The reasons students drop out are almost always financially related,” Ajinkya says. “Even the personal reasons people cite are financially related, like not being able to find affordable childcare, or transportation to actually be able to take your classes.” In addition to overseeing Degrees When Due, a free program designed to help institutions build their own capacity to help bring dropouts back, Ajinkya and IHEP have also analyzed another program for dropouts, Warrior Way Back, an initiative out of Wayne State University, that uses incremental debt forgiveness as incentive for dropouts. 
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St. Clair College, Wayne State University expand cross-border partnership

Wayne State University and St. Clair College signed five articulation agreements Wednesday at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, offering students the opportunity to develop their education between both institutions in two countries. Students in the accounting, business administration, computer technology, interior design, and marketing programs will now have the option to apply credits from their two- or three-year diploma toward a university degree in their field at Wayne State and receive both a diploma and degree in four years. Wayne State University president M. Roy Wilson said the partnership will save students time and money while building a résumé “that will make them attractive to employers on both sides of the border.” He echoed the value for business students to gain international experience through education. “I think right now, because of the way the world is and the way education is, you pretty much have to have some sort of international exposure,” Wilson said. “That’s the way business is.” With the enhanced partnership, St. Clair College students will receive Wayne State’s Great Lakes Tuition Award, a tuition break for Ontario students. Through the award, Ontario students will pay 10 per cent more than students in Michigan — around 50 per cent less than other international students. Wayne State is planning to hold an open house in November at St. Clair College to answer any questions from interested students.
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Water stays in the pipes longer in shrinking cities – a challenge for public health

Shawn P. McElmurry, Wayne State University associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Nancy Love, University of Michigan professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, wrote an article for The Conversation. “The geographic locations where Americans live are shifting in ways that can negatively affect the quality of their drinking water. Cities that experience long-term, persistent population decline are called shrinking cities. Urban shrinkage can be bad for drinking water in two ways: through aging infrastructure and reduced water demand. Major federal and state investments in U.S. drinking water occurred after the World Wars and through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund created by the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. Many of the pipes and treatment plants built with those funds are now approaching or have exceeded the end of their expected lifespan. Shrinking cities often don’t have the tax base to pay for maintenance and replacement needs. So the infrastructure, which is largely underground, out of sight and out of mind, deteriorates largely outside of the public eye…Despite all its accomplishments, the Safe Drinking Water Act is an imperfect law. Simply relying upon and then communicating about a water quality parameter that “meets all regulatory standards” – as per the law – is an inadequate way to communicate about water quality, as you can see in Flint.”
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IHEP summit spotlights financial struggles of low-income, working-class students

Achieving equity for low-income students in post-secondary education requires getting down to the nitty-gritty of what they need, and the Institute for Higher Education Policy provided a forum for that with a summit featuring game-changing institutional leaders — including WSU Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Dawn Medley — the release of a special report and in-person perspectives of students who have overcome major finance-related obstacles on their way to a degree. With student-sensitive efforts such as generous emergency funds and a debt-forgiveness initiative, Wayne State University has been a national leader in providing financial and emotional support to low-income and working-class students. “It’s letting them know that you don’t just see them, but you hear them,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management. “Schools keep putting burden of success on the back of the student. You really have to listen to your students and what they need if you are going to clean up the water and change the system.”
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Using AI to help students learn "how to college"

Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management, wrote a piece about Wayne State’s innovative use of a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) tool – also known as “chatbot.” Medley wrote: “The chatbot, developed by AdmitHub, helps prospective students successfully apply to and enroll in a college or university by answering their questions through text and mobile messaging. Marrying AI with a conversational tone, our chatbot – named “W the Warrior,” after our mascot – helped boost enrollment by 14.6 percent, including an 18 percent increase in first-generation students and a 13 percent increase in Pell-eligible students.” Medley points out that in-person guidance and nudges are as vital as ever, but the chatbot has afforded more time to focus on important interactions. “At Wayne State, we have discovered that there is no silver bullet to helping our students learn “how to college.” But we now know about several solutions that can work in tandem to help our students succeed. Success is not just about how students learn in the classroom. It’s also about how students interact with the institution.
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Wayne State University is improving its graduation rates

Last year, the six-year completion rate for all students was 47 percent. For first generation students, it’s up to 37 percent. And now, 22 percent of African-Americans get their degree from Wayne State. Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success, says the school has made progress, but not enough. “We at Wayne State still have large educational disparities around race and ethnicity, around income status, around first generation.” Brockmeyer says they set a goal of getting 50 percent of their students to graduate from Wayne State six years. “We set that goal because at the time it seemed like a really even unimaginably attainable goal,” she said. But now that they’re close to 50 percent, Brockmeyer thinks the school will hit its goal early this year.
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Michigan has 1.6M college dropouts. Debt forgiveness may lure them back

Statewide, nearly a quarter of adults over the age of 25, 1.6 million, have “some college” but no degree, according to the U.S. Census. Lakeshia King was among them until taking advantage of  “Warrior Way Back,” a Wayne State program that started last year to forgive up to $1,500 in past due tuition. Henry Ford College and Oakland University are set to announce Tuesday that they will join Wayne State in a cooperative agreement to offer college debt forgiveness incentives. Any student who takes advantage of up to $1,500 in debt forgiveness would be able to transfer between the colleges. The initiative is part of an effort announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and supported by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce to improve the state’s post-secondary education attainment rate from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2030. The partnership is an extension of the Wayne State program and debt forgiveness that Henry Ford started offering six years ago. 
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DetroitEd411 chat tool gives students college advice

The new Facebook Messenger chat bot, named after the Spirit of Detroit, is part of the DetroitEd411 program launched by Wayne State University in April 2019 and gives students free 24-hour access to resources and information about postsecondary education opportunities. It uses artificial intelligence and can answer questions from people in any stage of their educational path – from high schoolers who need financial aid information to parents seeking a career change. “This tool allows folks to engage wherever they are,” says Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State University. “The wonderful thing about AI is it doesn’t judge you. You don’t have to sit across from a person and say, ‘I was 16 and I made a mistake,’ or ‘I’m 30 and I never got my high school diploma and I don’t want people to know.’ It’s purely anonymous.”
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Wayne State nearly doubled its graduation rate

In 2007, the U. S. economy was in a recession and Detroit, where Wayne State University is located, was on its last legs financially. Then, in 2011, Michigan slashed state support for public institutions by 15 percent. “We were in a state of crisis because our graduation rates had fallen from 33 percent in 2007 to 26 percent,” said Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success at the university. “And with that our reputation had fallen, our enrollment was falling.” To make matters worse, the administration was anything but stable. “In five years, we had about three presidents and three provosts and a deputy president and an interim president and an interim provost,” Brockmeyer said. But in 2011, the school reallocated funds to help boost its graduation rate, which was then 26 percent.
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New program offers free tuition to children of WSU employees

Wayne State University will offer free tuition to its employees’ children. The program is called "Born to Be a Warrior." It's a pilot scholarship program for freshmen and transfer students who do not have a bachelor’s degree. Officials say the program is for children of full-time employees who meet GPA and standardized test criteria. Dawn Medley is the associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State University. She said that student recruitment is very competitive in the state of Michigan. "We just want to stay competitive, we want to make sure that our employees know that we want their students to come here," she said.
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WSU offering assistance to students affected by abrupt closure of Argosy University

Wayne State University is offering assistance to students affected by the abrupt closure of California-based Argosy University. Argosy University had more than a dozen campuses in 11 states and a large community of online students across the country, including those in Michigan. Wayne State officials say affected students are invited to schedule appointments with financial aid counselors to discuss issues related to financial aid and credit transfers. If a student wants to apply, Wayne State will waive the application fee. “We have great empathy for these students,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management. 
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Wayne State to roll out fast-track librarian certificate amid shortage, student demand

Wayne State University is set to offer a new experimental school library certificate to address student demand and a general shortage of certified school librarians in the state. The university plans to offer a 15-credit program through its School of Information Sciences, said Matt Fredericks, academic services officer for the school. The course load is designed to equip students with the necessary media specialist skills without requiring the typical 36-credit master's program.
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Colleges delay tuition, offer aid as shutdown hits students

A growing number of colleges and universities are postponing tuition payments, waiving late fees and providing emergency grants to students whose finances have been tied up by the longest government shutdown in history. Most of the offers come from schools along the East Coast and other areas with heavy numbers of federal employees, including Denver and Detroit. “We wanted to make sure students knew early on we were right there beside them,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment at the public school of 27,000 students. “Maybe they need rent money or money for transportation. We can help with that.” 
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Here’s how Wayne State nearly doubled its graduation rate in six years

Federal data show that Wayne State University has the fastest-improving graduation rate in the nation among public universities with more than 10,000 students. In fact, the percentage of students who earned a degree within six years of enrolling at Wayne State nearly doubled from 2011 to 2017, jumping from 26 percent to 47 percent, according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. While Wayne State’s graduation rate increased by 21 percentage points in six years, national graduation rates have increased only two percentage points over the last decade. Wayne State’s emphasis on boosting graduation rates began in earnest in 2011, when it launched a Student Retention Initiative. Over the next five years, the university invested more than $10 million in student success projects. “The core of the initiative was an overhaul in academic advising, which has led to proactive, individualized advising driven by state-of-the art technology and comprehensive professional development,” says Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success. 
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How the shutdown affects tuition payments and loans

Normally, colleges do not allow students to attend classes if they miss a tuition payment, and payment plans carry fees. But a handful of colleges - including Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the Nevada System of Higher Education Institutions and Wayne State University in Michigan - have publicly told students they can stay in college and delay tuition payments without paying penalties. Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State University, said she fears that if students are not granted tuition relief, they will drop out. That is why Wayne State, in Detroit, has delayed tuition payments for government workers with financial needs, put them on payment plans, provided emergency loans and waived fees. There are families that can’t just cough up $6,000 when they do not know when the paycheck will arrive, said Medley.
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Michigan feeling the pinch of federal shutdown

Wayne State University has begun offering financial assistance to students who have been impacted by the partial government shutdown. "It's going to be determined on a case by case basis, depending on the situation," Matt Lockwood, director of communications for Wayne State, told The News. "It could look like waiving a late fee, emergency loans or setting up student on a payment plan to allow them to continue on with their classes and not interrupt their studies." Lockwood said this is the first time Wayne State has made such an offer to his knowledge.  "This has drug on. It's coming up on three weeks, fairly long," he said ."We were doing so many other things to ensure our students education is not interrupted. One of faculty members actually bought this up that so many of our students work and also rely on parents that any portion of their financial income stream being interrupted would impact their ability to stay in school. We've already received some information from students that have been interested in finding out if they qualify.” 
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Groups, colleges to help former students finish their studies

Dawn Medley is a student affairs official at Wayne State University, a public four-year institution in Detroit, Michigan. She says the Lumina Foundation reached out to the school about setting an example for how schools could help improve student graduation rates earlier this year. Together, they began examining student data and found that Wayne State had 13,000 students drop out of college without earning a degree. So, Wayne State launched a program called “Warrior Way Back.”