Fort Valley State University (FVSU) is launching a new program that will encourage former students to return to campus to complete their degrees.
The Recruit Back program, which is in line with Governor Nathan Deal’s new “Go Back, Move Ahead program, will reach out to FVSU students who either dropped out or left campus before finishing their degrees, and encourage them to come back and finish their college degree.
The FVSU Recruit Back program started a month ago as the brainchild of FVSU director of Marketing and Communications Pamela Berry-Johnson. A small committee composed of Dr. Jessica Bailey, vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost for FVSU, Dr. Jean Wacaster, coordinator of the Adult Learning program, and Berry-Johnson, met during the Fall to develop the program.
“This is a very exciting time to enroll at Fort Valley State University,” said Dr. Jean Wacaster, coordinator for the Adult Learning program at FVSU. “The university expects a lot of transfer and adult students to come into the various programs. Most importantly, it is also an opportunity for students to get closer to graduating.”
Berry-Johnson recommended the Recruit Back initiative after having success with a similar program at her previous institution, Jackson State University.
“Reaching out to former students who have not completed their degree is a great way to not only increase enrollment, but also to give former Wildcats a nudge to complete what they started,” Berry-Johnson said. “Sometimes, many people are just waiting on someone to reach out to them.”
Berry-Johnson said many of the Go Back Move Ahead program highlights will serve as a great benefit for the former students being courted in the Recruit Back effort.
According to a study, it is projected that by 2020 more than 60 percent of jobs within the state will require a college degree or certificate. Currently, only 42 percent of Georgian have earned college credentials. To meet the governor’s objective of obtaining 250,000 graduates for the state, the University System of Georgia’s Go Back Move Ahead initiative will offer the state’s citizens a simpler enrollment process and a more flexible way to transfer earned college credits. Additionally, it will provide better options for working nontraditional students to return to college campuses and complete their degrees.
“The Recruit Back program was developed to enable FVSU to fulfill its commitment to Complete College Georgia,” Bailey said. “ By encouraging adult learners to complete a degree, we will be able to meet our enrollment objectives. Adults who return to complete their degrees increase their earning power.”
The university began assembling a database of students who have stopped out, meaning they withdrew or left campus before finishing their degrees. The university’s Office of Institutional Research and Planning obtained Banner records from Wildcat students dating from the year 1990 that dropped out of FVSU, or didn’t complete their coursework. From that pool, the team found more than 30,000 former students that were enrolled on the school. From this pool, the university created a database of names, and will mail out postcards to these former students encouraging them to come back to campus and finish their degrees. The university also has designed a webpage with specialized information and will reach out to former students via social media.
According to Dr. Wacaster, FVSU does not know what happens to these students – whether they moved, graduated from another college, or moved onto the job world, but the campus hopes that they can encourage some of these students that haven’t earned their degrees to complete them. There will also be a new hotline established for the new program.
For more information about the Recruit Back program, contact Wacaster at (478) 825-6858.