BOONE, N.C. — Student success at a university balances, sometimes precariously, on a three-legged stool — academics, finances and personal well-being.
If any one leg wobbles, the structure may topple. A student working long hours to meet expenses may fall behind academically. Family issues may force an academically sound student to miss classes repeatedly or ultimately forego her education. And a student struggling with one or two classes may avoid admitting, until far too late, he needs assistance.
Appalachian State University has systems, personnel and strategies in place to ensure students have the help they need in all three areas — possibly one reason the university’s retention and debt payment rates are significantly higher than the national average.
Appalachian’s retention rate is 89 percent for freshmen to sophomores — 20 percent higher than the national average — and 74 percent of Appalachian graduates are paying off student debt as compared to the 46 percent national average. Our six-year graduation rate of 73 percent is 30 percent higher than the national average.
What’s the secret to this university’s high performance in these areas? These stories, one addressing each leg of the success stool, provide some of the answers.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.