Students using the Ball State Learning Center have higher retention, on-time graduation rates

Students stressed about their academic performance might benefit from using the resources available at Ball State’s Learning Center. 

According to the center’s "Retention and Graduation Report for 2017-18," students who utilize its services or attend supplemental instruction (SI) sessions are more likely to be retained and graduate on time than those who don’t.

“[The center] provides that academic support to students that will help them stay at Ball State,” said Jennifer Haley, director of the center. 

She said students who use the center’s resources or go to SI sessions are more “proactive” in their studies and the relationship they form with tutors helps them realize they don’t have to do this alone.

Students who are on probation and don’t have the required GPA for returning the next semester would have a better chance of appealing for their return if they had been utilizing the resources of the center.

“That speaks more to what they invested in already and that would give them a better opportunity to come back,” Pavlik said.

Students can receive tutoring from the center but can also attend SI sessions run by SI leaders. These leaders sit in a class that they have already passed that has high rates of D and F grades, and withdraws or classes that require a lot of support.

SI leaders hold two or three study sessions a week to help students work together to learn the course material and teach each other said Haley. 

“Students who are successful and feel like they are understanding the material, also feel like they are connected with other students — like what you get within a SI class,” said Rachel Ling, SI leader and sophomore nursing major. 

Students who go to these sessions are going to be more likely to stay on campus than those who don’t, Ling said.

At-risk students — those having a 2.0-2.9 GPA when graduating high school and least likely to be retained — are more likely to reenroll the next semester and graduate if they use the center’s resources than at-risk students who don’t according to the document released.

Students who do not reenroll for the next academic year, leave for a number of reasons. 

Pavlik said some reasons why students leave are because they switch to a major not offered by Ball State, choose to go to a trade school, financial reasons, athletic reasons, proximity to home or health issues.

She said Ball State has problems retaining commuter students who sometimes face specific difficulties.

“I think the biggest thing is that [commuter students] … feel a really hard tug between school and family life and work life,” Pavlik said. 

Contact Scott Fleener with comments at jsfleener@bsu.edu or on Twitter @Scott_Reports.

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