About the Office of Student Success and Retention

The purpose of the Morgan State University Office of Student Success and Retention is to work in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Engineering, the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, the School of Business and Management, the School of Education and Urban Studies, the School Community and Public Health, the School of Architecture and Planning, the School of Social Work, the School of Global Journalism and Communication, and the various academic support programs of the University to provide continuous, quality support for undergraduate students from matriculation to graduation. The goal of this comprehensive program is to increase student retention rates and persistence to graduation with a focus on academic success and achievement through early intervention and systematic tracking of undergraduate students. Listed below are some of the Campus-Wide Retention Initiatives:

  • Summer Programs for Freshmen - facilitating the mandatory ACCESS Orientation Program and PACE
  • Early Alert & Response System/Starfish - assisting faculty with intervention for students performing below expectations
  • Placement Testing (Accuplacer/ALEKS) - proctoring, scoring & disseminating 1,200–1,600 tests per academic year
  • Academic Recovery Program - engaging and rehabilitating students who are eligible for dismissal/suspension
  • Alumni Mentoring program - pairing freshmen with alumni volunteers to foster networking
  • Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) - participating in the nation-wide longitudinal cohort of institutions
  • Academic Advisement for First-time Freshmen - (Summer & Fall semesters only of the first year)
  • Mid-term grades of “D” or “F” - monitoring & intervening with students to prevent final grades of “D” or “F”
  • Final grades of “D” or “F” - monitoring & intervening with students to replace grades with “C” grades or better
  • Academic Probation - monitoring & intervening with students to restore Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Financial Literacy - providing a financial education curriculum designed to enhance students’ financial skills
  • Financial Aid Probation - working to reduce number of students ineligible to receive financial aid
  • FAFSA filing campaign - working to reduce the number students with incomplete or late FAFSA applications
  • Students Dropped for Failure to Make Satisfactory Financial Arrangements - reinstating as many as possible
  • No Longer Enrolled Students - tracking and follow-up of student registration, withdrawals, and stop-outs
  • Parents’ 411 newsletter - mailing to the permanent address of all undergraduate students each semester
  • University Guide - publishing an annual comprehensive campus resource manual for students and parents
  • Retention Research & Student Surveys - participating in national benchmarking & campus research/surveys
  • Peer Tutoring - coordinating programs in the academic schools/departments
  • Freshman Orientation Course - teaching and providing leadership in the required freshman orientation courses in each school

Morgan State University has increased its retention rate from 63% (2006 cohort) to 73% (2015 cohort) and graduation rate from 28% (2005 cohort) to 38% (2011 cohort), both ten-point increases that are directly correlated to the ongoing efforts of the Office of Student Success and Retention (OSSR). Beginning with the Fall 2010 freshman cohort, Morgan has achieved retention rates above 70% for seven consecutive years. This was achieved through a combination of early intervention strategies, systematic tracking and monitoring, and academic coaching and mentoring. OSSR staff spend most of their time monitoring and tracking students’ finances and satisfactory academic progress. The OSSR works to produce graduates of Morgan State University who are well prepared to meet the challenges of internship, graduate school, professional school, and career following their successful matriculation and graduation from the institution.

As a result of grants from the Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Morgan has invested in new technologies including the Education Advisory Board’s (EAB) Student Success Collaborative (SSC), Hobson’s Starfish Retention Solutions, and Ellucian’s Degree Works. These tools have assisted us with strategic tracking and monitoring, auditing and degree planning, academic coaching and mentoring, course redesign, and predictive analytics. Our intrusive, intentional student success initiatives have helped Morgan gain national recognition for our efforts, winning the 2017 Hobsons Education Advances Award for Student Success and Advisement, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) 2016 Turning Points Award, and the 2015 APLU Project Degree Completion Award for our outstanding efforts to increase retention rates and promote student success; Morgan State University is the only HBCU to ever have won these national awards.