As Ohio State ATI’s student population shows a steady increase in the number of students planning to transition to a bachelor’s degree program, the services provided by Program Excel are also changing. Program Excel recently received its eighth consecutive Student Support Services Trio grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Through a highly competitive grant process, the program awards funds to institutions of higher education to support and motivate students toward the successful completion of a college degree.
According to Program Excel Manager Dee Dee Snyder, “We are funded to provide extra services to 210 students. The goal of our program is to increase graduation and retention rates as well as the rate of students transferring from two-year to four-year programs.”
This year, Program Excel is providing two new initiatives geared toward helping students transition to four-year programs. One will provide students with an introduction to the Columbus campus, which can seem a bit overwhelming to someone coming from a campus with 750 students. “They’ll be doing everything from career preparation to finding out about Columbus academic resources to navigating the campus via the bus system,” Snyder said. “And they’ll be having lunch with other Program Excel students who transitioned successfully from Ohio State ATI to the Columbus campus.”
Also new is the Columbus Connectors program, which is building partnerships with key student resource people in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. “An ATI student may understand our academic advising process, but that process will be different in Columbus,” explained Snyder. “Linking them to the Columbus Connectors will introduce students to the right person for their needs, before they leave Wooster.”
Program Excel boasts an excellent track record in the area of student success. Nearly half the students who were awarded Ohio State ATI academic scholarships last year participated in Program Excel. Last year, half of the students who received Outstanding Student awards were from Program Excel, as were the winners of the Director’s Award for the last three years.
The $1.5 million Ohio State ATI was awarded for the 2015-2020 grant period will support myriad other grant services, from academic counseling and professional tutoring, to assistance with completing the FAFSA and scholarship applications, to financial literacy and personal budgeting. “The total of our grants, from 1988 to 2020, will have provided Ohio State ATI with $7.5 million of student services support, and we will have assisted hundreds of students to reach graduation and beyond,” said Snyder.