The University of Utah — Goal 1 Initiative For Utah Success
Launched by the University of Utah, the For Utah Success initiative supports access to and completion of a college degree for students who are Pell-eligible with a full tuition and fees scholarship for four years. The initiative is aimed at helping underrepresented students at the University of Utah, most of whom will be first-generation students. The goal of the initiative is to increase access to higher education and close achievement gaps using targeted collaboration, mentorship, and support.
The inaugural cohort of the For Utah Success program (2020-2021) is comprised of 781 students, with 53% being students of color and 61% being first-generation college students. The current graduation gap between domestic students of color and white students is 4%; the For Utah Success program aims to address this gap. For Utah scholars will be assigned to Student Success Advocates to support them throughout their first semester. Students will join a cohort program, where possible, to ensure peer support from year one to degree completion.
Success will be based on retention, degree completion, year-over-year program growth (with a target of 1,000 students), and career connections for post-graduation success. The University of Utah strives to achieve a retention rate of 90% between year one and year two for students enrolled in the For Utah Success program. Four- and six-year completion rate goals are 50% and 70%, respectively.
This initiative marks an entirely new effort for the University of Utah, with an explicit focus on increasing access for underrepresented students and closing achievement gaps at our institution. It creates a new collaboration using Student Success Advocates, enrollment management, and alumni representative to guide, support, and mentor recipients as they navigate higher education experiences. Specifically, enlisting alumni to mentor For Utah Success students and provide education-to-career bridges is a new effort for the University of Utah community.
Key Interventions and Milestones
Key interventions in the program will ensure that students feel supported throughout their experience. For Utah scholars will be assigned to a Student Success Advocate who will meet with them twice in the first semester. At that point, students will join a cohort program such as Business Scholars, Learning Community, or Honors College, while selecting their major and developing their "Plan to Finish Roadmap." During their second year, students will plan at least one experiential learning opportunity with an assigned advisor. During their third year, students will be connected to alumni to ensure preparation for entering the workforce.
While this is a new initiative for the University of Utah, success will take form in a retention rate of For Utah Success scholars of 90% from year one to year two. We hope to see four- and six-year completion rates of 50% and 70%, respectively, with a yearly cohort of 800 students or more. Within this cohort, we strive to have a significant percentage of students who are students of color or first generation.