UT System Awards $1.8M to Expand Innovative UT Austin Success Program

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AUSTIN, Texas — As part of a $10 million award for institutional student success initiatives, The University of Texas System Board of Regents granted $1.8 million to fund the expansion of The University of Texas at Austin’s Graduation Help Desk. The program, which helps students navigate administrative roadblocks on their paths to timely graduation, is the only project included in the UT System’s Student Success Quantum Leap to be funded and implemented across all eight academic institutions.

Since it began in April 2014, more than 1,000 cases submitted by students, advisers, faculty and staff members, parents, prospective students and student advocates have been managed.

“We designated Student Success as a Quantum Leap effort because it should be clear to everyone that putting our students on the road to success is, and always will be, job one,” Chancellor William H. McRaven said. “Providing institutions with the resources to create and expand innovative programs that support and motivate students to earn their degrees and make the most of their time in college is exactly the type of investment we should be making, and I’m grateful to the regents for their support.”

Collaboration across campus units, consistent messaging to students and strategic use of data to foster timely graduation are at the core of the Graduation Help Desk’s approach. Although initially created to respond to student requests regarding course availability and scheduling conflicts, the program has become a primary resource for advisers during the past three years.

“Helping students succeed is at the core of the university’s mission, and the Graduation Help Desk is a great example. I am excited to see that we are able to share the lessons we have learned, and I want to thank UT System for their support,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost at UT Austin.

UT Austin held its first webinar June 28 to introduce other UT institutions to the Graduation Help Desk. Later this summer, representatives from each school will travel to Austin for a workshop, where they will learn how to implement the Graduation Help Desk on their campuses. After the convening, UT Austin will continue to consult with other campuses and provide guidance throughout the implementation.