Fayetteville State University

In January 2017, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina unanimously approved Higher Expectations, a five-year Strategic Plan for the UNC System. The Plan calls on the UNC System to achieve ambitious goals in access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and institutional excellence and diversity.

Progress on these goals and metrics will be achieved through the hard work and commitment of institutional leaders, faculty, and staff. In that spirit, Fayetteville State University has identified these contributions that FSU aspires to make to the UNC Strategic Plan over the next five years.


Prioritize

Rural Enrollments

By fall 2021, FSU will enroll 4,429 rural students, a 9.2% increase over 2016 levels (373 additional rural students over a base of 4,056).

From Fayetteville State University: Consistent with our mission as an institution of opportunity and diversity, FSU is fully committed to providing increased access to higher education of exceptional quality for North Carolina residents throughout the state. A particular focus has been placed on improving accessibility for students from the 80 counties designated as rural that have experienced high levels of economic hardship. Despite not being one of the UNC System’s three designated ‘Promise Schools’, with specially subsidized tuition rates of $500 per semester, many Fayetteville State University academic programs have been ranked by third parties as among the best values in the nation, combining high affordability with high quality academics.  To help further enhance rural access, FSU has initiated a $10K Degree Pathways program through which students who have attained Associate degrees from North Carolina community colleges can earn a bachelor’s degree in an FSU online degree completion program for a total cost, including community college tuition, of $10,000 or less.   This compares very favorably to many alternative programs in which typical tuition and fees can approach $10,000 per year.

On net, enrollment at FSU from economically distressed rural counties began declining with the announcement of the School of Promise program available through other UNC System campuses, but overall enrollment has continued to increase, fueled by those for whom the highly-regarded value of our offerings fits well with their objectives.

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Low-income Completions

By 2021-22, FSU will produce 853 low-income graduates, an increase of 30.0% (197 additional low-income completions over a base of 656).

From Fayetteville State University:

Increasing degree attainment for all students is a high priority of FSU’s strategic plan. This priority is also consistent with our history of providing educational opportunities opening new paths for students historically underserved by institutions of higher learning. To facilitate success of students from families with limited financial resources, FSU has maintained tuition rates ranked as among the most affordable in the nation among high quality, well-accredited institutions. In addition, the University has engaged in extensive fundraising to help students overcome the financial barriers that so often impede progress. FSU also offers a comprehensive set of support programs that help many of our high potential students fill gaps in their learning that peers may have acquired earlier in their academic journeys. These support programs include extensive tutoring services, on-demand online academic assistance, professional academic advising, and academic coaches to help navigate the college environment.

As enrollment growth among students from families with limited financial means is lower than expected due to many students opting to attend NC Promise schools, Fayetteville State University is not on track to meet growth goals for the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by students from lower income families. However, the University is exceeding its goal of the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to such students. Our interim target of awarding 764 bachelor’s degrees to students from low wealth families in 2019-20 represented 23.2% of projected low wealth students enrolled. Our actual result of 675 bachelor’s degrees awarded to students with limited financial means represented 23.7% of such students enrolled. Thus, despite lower than expected numbers, our success rate in graduating students from low wealth families has increased. Learn more about student resources.

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Rural Completions

Rural completions: By 2021-22, FSU will produce 1,000 rural graduates, an increase of 25.3% (202 additional rural completions over a base of 798).

From Fayetteville State University:

As an institution of opportunity and diversity, FSU is fully committed to increasing degree completions by students coming to the university from homes throughout the state of North Carolina, including those from economically challenged, rural North Carolina counties who may not have had a wealth of resources to draw upon prior to college. The student success resources described above that are available to low-income students are also relevant to help students from resource-constrained rural backgrounds accelerate their learning and achieve their objectives.

As with low-income completions, Fayetteville State University did not meet growth targets for the number of rural completions, but exceeded its goal for the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to students from distressed rural counties. Our target of awarding 909 bachelor’s degrees to students from rural counties in 2019-20 represented 21.0% of total projected undergraduates enrolled from those counties. Our actual result of 833 bachelor’s degrees awarded to rural students represented 22.9% of undergraduates enrolled from rural counties.

Learn more about student resources.

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Five-year Graduation Rates

By 2022, FSU will improve its five-year graduation rate from any accredited institution to 36.0%. This is an improvement over a base of 29.9% for FSU’s 2010 cohort.

This metric refers exclusively to students for whom FSU is the first postsecondary institution they attend after graduating from high school. Improving graduation rates is one of the top priorities of the FSU Strategic Plan, 2020-2025. In addition to the academic support initiatives described above, we help students maintain steady progress toward graduation by maintaining an engaging, caring, multi-faceted student environment that affirms diverse student perspectives. Readily available counseling and support are offered when challenges arise. The University works to further strengthen persevering spirits by highlighting the expansive range of career trajectories made available to those who complete their academic journeys. A wide range of employers and speakers are invited to campus to connect with students and to help inspire success. Progress toward graduation is also enhanced by making it as simple as possible to register for classes, including advisors and systems which proactively assist in selecting the classes that will best enable students to graduate as expeditiously as possible.

Through these multiple initiatives FSU has exceeded the 5-year graduation rate goal to-date, with a graduate rate of 37% for the 2015 cohort, compared to an interim 2019-20 goal of 33%. The entire university community continues to work hard to help our students maintain rapid improvement in this important metric.

Learn more about student resources and the Office of Student Engagement.

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Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

Undergraduate degree efficiency: By 2021-22, FSU will improve its undergraduate degree efficiency to 22.1 over a base of 19.8.

A significant portion of FSU’s students are transfer students and are not included in traditional graduation rates (priority metric 4). Hence, undergraduate degree efficiency, which is the number of undergraduate degrees awarded per 100 full-time-equivalent students, is a more appropriate measure of student success at FSU than traditional graduation rates. The University has established an extensive set of resources and initiatives to help expedite the path to bachelor’s guide for those coming to FSU from community colleges or from the military. These resources include: (a) program-specific curriculum guides to help community college students select the community college courses that will best fit their 4-year degree goals; (b) dedicated team in place to assist military-affiliated students in getting college credit for relevant training gained through military service; (c) professional advisors able to help assess transfer equivalencies of courses taken elsewhere; (d) capability of considering credit from non-traditional educational providers approved for college credit by the American Council for Education (ACE) or other accredited third parties; ( e) an Office of Adult Learners to serve as a general resource and single point of contact for undergraduates beginning their matriculation at FSU after a period of work and/or study elsewhere; and (f) a wide range of online course options (even prior to COVID-19) to facilitate convenient, timely access to classes. In addition, of course, the online, on-demand tutoring and other academic support resources included in the description of Low-Income Completions are key in facilitating timely graduation rates for transfer students as well. To further improve graduation efficiency the University is exploring expanded strategies for assessing and granting credit for prior learning.

The University is on track to meet its undergraduate degree efficiency targets, achieving the interim 2019-20 goal for undergraduate degree efficiency of 21.1 percent.

Learn more about the Student Veterans Center.

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Improve

Low-income Enrollments

Low-income enrollments: By fall 2021, FSU will enroll 3,447 low-income students, a 11.2% increase over 2015 levels (346 additional low-income students over a base of 3,101).

From Fayetteville State University: As noted previously, FSU is at its core an institution of opportunity and diversity, fully committed to providing increased access to higher education of exceptional quality for North Carolina residents throughout the state—independent of family income levels. Many Fayetteville State University academic programs have been ranked by third parties as among the best values in the nation, combining high affordability with high quality academics.  FSU’s innovative $10K Degree Pathways program–enabling NC community college students to transfer to FSU and earn an FSU bachelor’s degree for a total cost, including community college tuition, of $10,000 or less—helps further enhance affordability. The University continues an aggressive fundraising campaign to make more scholarship resources available for high potential students who need additional financial support to enroll and succeed.

Because it has not been designated a UNC “School of Promise” with specially subsidized tuition rates, FSU’s enrollment of students with limited financial means has not met previously established targets. However, overall enrollment has continued to increase, fueled by those for whom the highly-regarded value of our offerings fits well with their objectives.

Read more at FSU Students: Prepared to Make a Difference and Why Choose FSU.

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Critical Workforces

By 2021-22, FSU will produce 421 critical workforce credentials, an increase of 49.3% (139 additional critical workforce credentials over a base of 282).

From Fayetteville State University:

The UNC System Strategic Plan established a goal of significantly increasing the number of degrees awarded in fields deemed critical to meet the state’s workface needs in the face of potential labor supply shortages. Key disciplines considered critical for these purposes included education, STEM disciplines, and healthcare—each of which represent important centers of competency at Fayetteville State University. Founded as a teacher education institution, FSU has maintained its longstanding commitment to preparing teachers, principals, and school district leaders. FSU graduates are frequently recognized as teachers and principals of the year in this region of the state. Programs in the health professions are among our strongest.  FSU now graduates more nurses than any other major, and the percentage of pre-licensure students who pass the NCLEX, the national nursing licensing exam, ranges consistently from 92 to 100, among the best in the Southeast US.  To help support the success of students in STEM fields, the University has competed for, and won, many grants that have supported leading edge instruction and research opportunities for faculty and students in the sciences. FSU students regularly earn recognition in national scientific research endeavors. Recognizing the need to continuously invest in course development that is responsive to emerging new fields, the University has recently established new offerings in such fields as Healthcare Patient Quality Assurance, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Materials Sciences, Geospatial Intelligence, and Disruptive Technologies, to name a few. Through such investments FSU became the first University in the Southeast U.S. to be designated a NextGen Lab by SAP, the global leader in supply chain software used by 90%+ of the top corporations in the world (used also by the US Army). Collaboration with the private sector has also enabled FSU to also offer professional certifications in such high demand fields as cybersecurity, project management, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

The University is exceeding its goals for critical workforce credentials, with 365 critical workforce degrees awarded in 2019-20 compared to a goal of 358 such degrees.

Read more at FSU Students: Prepared to Make a Difference.

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Achievement Gaps in Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

Achievement gaps in undergraduate degree efficiency: By 2021-22, FSU will reduce by 75% the achievement gap in undergraduate degree efficiency between male and female student.

From Fayetteville State University:

Female students are performing well at FSU, but it is the university’s goal to improve overall degree efficiency by providing targeted programs for males and improving academic support for all students. Bronco Men is a student organization that provides male students with a supportive learning community. A peer coaching initiative will help males develop the skills and habits of successful students. The Bridge Builders mentoring program will connect male students with faculty, staff, and community role models to create relationships that will sustain students through the first two years. Faculty mentoring will be expanded to help guide male and female students through their junior and senior years.

Fayetteville State University is on track to exceed its goal of improving male undergraduate degree efficiency. A male degree efficiency rate of 19.5 bachelor’s degrees per 100 male undergraduate students was achieved in 2019-20 compared to an interim target in that year of 18.6 degrees per 100 students.

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Sustain

Research Productivity

Research productivity: By 2021-22, FSU will receive $12,045,258 in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income, an increase of 10.2% ($1,114,897 additional over a base of $10,930,361).

From Fayetteville State University: Research is not FSU’s primary mission, but the university recognizes that support for research is essential for sustaining faculty professional development, maintaining instruction that is relevant and impactful, and helping students prepare for graduate school. Given the limitations of state funding, the university must seek out external support for research endeavors. Toward this end, FSU has established an Office of Sponsored Research and Programs to help connect faculty with grant-funded research opportunities. Regular workshops are given by this Office to assist faculty in identifying appropriate grant opportunities and writing successful research proposals. To help make more time for faculty to pursue research (and to help mentor students in the process), faculty teaching workload expectations were reduced from 4 courses in the Fall and Spring to 3 courses each semester.

Fayetteville State University is on track to exceed its Research Productivity goals, winning total grant awards of $11.2 million in FY 2020 compared to an interim target of $10.9 million.

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