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Scholarships for Academic Success Program: A Final Report

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

FPD 5: Transitions and Student Success, Part I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1054.1 - 23.1054.18



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Paper Authors


Carolyn Skurla Baylor University

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Carolyn Skurla is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University. She received a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University.

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Steven R. Eisenbarth Baylor University

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Professor Eisenbarth has 33 years of teaching exerience in the fields of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at Baylor University where he has served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science Studies and more recently as the Associate Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He has developing interests in international education and has a faculty appointment at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, DPRK.

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Scholarships for Academic Success Program: A Final ReportAbstractThe primary goal of the Scholarships for Academic Success (SAS) Program, funded through anNSF S-STEM grant, was to attract transfer students from regional community colleges and four-year institutions without engineering and/or computer science programs into the fields ofengineering and computer science through an academically competitive financial assistanceprogram. The second goal of the SAS Program was to ensure the success of the scholarshiprecipients once they arrive on our campus.Because our institution historically enrolls a small percentage of transfer, older-than-average,and other non-traditional students, these students often experience difficulty connecting withtheir classmates and integrating into the university community. Special programs and eventsdesigned to build a cohort of SAS students were intended to provide the students with supportservices and resources to build a sense of community and to ensure retention through thecompletion of their degree. SAS Scholars were familiarized with campus resources that providesupport, encourage success, and help students improve study skills. Mentoring activitiesincluded teaching life and career skills, providing faculty and industry mentors, encouragingstudents to seek summer internships, and providing them with services, resources, and events toassist them in the transition to engineering and computer science programs at a 4-year university.The introduction of SAS scholars to each other provided the students with an instant supportnetwork of classmates and student-mentors. Through career counseling and focusedstudent/faculty interaction, this project was intended to help students complete their degreeprograms in the shortest time possible.SAS scholarships, totaling $440,000 over 5 years, were awarded to fifty-four academicallytalented students of limited financial means. Preliminary analysis of retention data indicates thatSAS scholars were successful in their engineering and computer science (ECS) majors to agreater degree when compared to traditional students (i.e., students enrolling at our university asfreshmen directly after high school graduation) and to transfer students who were not eligible forSAS scholarships (i.e., non-SAS transfer students):• Percent retention of SAS scholars in ECS majors was 39% greater than traditional students and 103% greater than non-SAS transfer students.• The percentage of SAS scholars who changed their major from ECS to another major at this university was 40% less than the percentage of traditional students and 57% less than the percentage of non-SAS transfer students who changed their major from ECS to another major.• The percent drop-out rate for SAS scholars was 61% lower than traditional students and 73% lower than non-SAS transfer students.• SAS scholars, regardless of major, graduate from this university at a rate that approaches the university-wide graduation rate, regardless of major.

Skurla, C., & Eisenbarth, S. R. (2013, June), Scholarships for Academic Success Program: A Final Report Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22439

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