Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs (AVCSA) launched the Adult Student Stop-Out Outreach initiative in fall 2017, emailing adult undergraduate students who were enrolled in the spring of 2017, but not in the fall of 2017. The initiative seeks to establish a connection with these students and provide support and information about resources in order to encourage student persistence and success. AVCSA developed the initiative in response to Student Affairs increased focus on student retention.
Identified students are assigned to a staff professional in AVCSA, who then emails students with links to resources. Listed resources include those that address typical challenges or concerns for this student population, and are organized into categories like financial support, time management and academic support. The primary goal is to encourage re-enrollment by connecting students to resources they may have been unaware of previously.
“Our hope is that these students come back once they access the correct resources and see that people in our office care,” says James Stewart, director of Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs. “Every successive quarter that a student remains unregistered in school (lowers) the chance that they will return, so it is important to get in touch with them the first quarter they take off to help them come back,” Stewart says.
Of the 622 adult undergraduate students that received an email in fall 2017, over half linked to financial resources. The second most-linked-to resource category was personal resource, followed by resources to reduce stress. Students could also detail their experiences in the ‘Other’ section, and students cited reasons such as pregnancy, natural disaster or a new job as reasons for leaving DePaul. Forty students directly responded to the email, and many of these students set up in-person or over-the-phone meetings with a professional in AVCSA.