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Gateway is the Key to Success

Accountability programs are a large factor in the success of college students, particularly those from less fortunate backgrounds.

Photo of Mariah Green
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One way people lose weight is to have an accountability partner who will accompany them to the gym, eat healthy with them, and manage progress on the journey to fitness. Programs like the Gateway Scholars Program at UT Austin do something similar. This program connects students with the resources they need to achieve good grades, enrich their college experience with study abroad opportunities, and keep them on track to graduate on time instead of dropping out.

While the dropout rate at UT Austin has gradually been decreasing over the years, this figure could still be improved. What if students could opt into an "accountability pool" that grouped them with like-minded students who could support them through the undergraduate process? Those who opt into the pool could pay a smaller tuition amount contingent upon staying in these accountability groups and keeping a certain GPA. Additional money spent on human resources would be minimal and students could be divided by major and/or background to ensure compatibility. This could create a healthy sense of competition and help students not to feel so alone as they navigate the difficult journey of undergrad. Just a thought.

Our school's current graduation rate is barely above 50%, which weakens our overall school rankings and reduces the turn time for students to start giving back to the university as part of the workforce. The sooner these students graduate, the sooner they can repay their tuition and/or contribute to alumni fundraising programs, the sooner the university's national rankings can increase, and the sooner there will be room for new students can begin to pay current tuition prices. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Try to find your own accountability partner today and observe how it changes your study habits and long-/short-term goals. Do you think you'll be more or less successful and how will it inspire a sense of "competition" in you? Is that competitive feeling good or do you think it has negative repercussions?

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave

Mariah,
Great point about the connection between graduation and paying for college, I know that low grad rates are an especially big problem at public universities.
Check out this post by Ryan about the importance of college counselors: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/higher-ed/research/maybe-it-s-a-great-college-counselor-that-s-needed
I think this post could connect with your previous post about successful grads helping out struggling students. What if some type of mentorship program could be combined with aid programs to help students graduate?

Photo of Mariah Green

Thanks, Gavin! I followed that link and it definitely gave me some insight for the next phase of the challenge! Hopefully we can increase the graduation rates so that students don't accumulate mounds of debt for no reason.