In episode 1 of our e-Literate TV case study on Northern Arizona University, we gave a broad overview of the suite of initiatives (primarily) targeted at helping first-year students amidst the tensions coming from growing enrollments. ((Disclosure: Our e-Literate TV series of video case studies and explainer videos is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)) In this episode we look outside of the classroom to see how they’re approach advising and student support.

As we mentioned yesterday, NAU has a rapidly growing enrollment and has a large percentage of students (more than 40% of incoming freshman) that are first-generation. These students do not have a long-history of academic success, and they typically do not have a family support system in place to help them understand what to expect in college and how to succeed. First-generation students tend to come from lower-income families and have a greater tendency to work 20+ hours per week on top of their college studies. We even documented last year how first-generation students tend to spend more on textbooks. Simply put, for schools attracting high percentages of first-generation students, there is an even greater need to provide support and advising structures in place to help them acclimate to college life and studying requirements. And even guidance on how to manage their degree and career plans.

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