How Upswing Can Help Historically Black Colleges & Universities Better Retain Students & Save Money

Upswing is a proud partner with several Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) including Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), Texas College, and Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Derick Virgil, Associate Dean, Academic Services and Assessment, University College and Lifelong Learning at WSSU to discuss why he chose to partner with Upswing to improve student retention at WSSU. We also discussed the challenges HBCUs face in regards to student attrition in comparison to non-HBCUs and how HBCUs can better utilize student support services to improve student retention.

Upswing Helps Expand HBCU Tutoring

Dr. Virgil spoke with us on many issues regarding HBCUs and how student support services can help support student retention. He highlighted how HBCUs traditionally have served students of color who come from backgrounds that may not prepare them for a high-education environment, and how WSSU uses student support services to ensure these underprepared students are set up to succeed beyond the first year. Dr. Virgil also discussed the successes of their learning center in regard to supporting their students. However, the desire to scale expand tutoring support hours across more subjects brought him to Upswing.

Upswing Provides Cost Saving Measures

Upswing could provide WSSU students the ability to utilize tutoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with tutoring support in a wide array of subjects. Dr. Virgil also knew that his students would be more receptive to online tutoring, as they were already comfortable with new technologies and Upswing also provided a way for students who may be more reluctant to utilize a learning center to anonymously access tutoring. He also recognized the cost savings that Upswing could provide as a long term investment in student retention.

Reduce Attrition, Increase Retention

As a small public university, WSSU benefits long-term from Upswing services since it requires less money and resources be used for the university’s physical learning center. Dr. Virgil has seen that Upswing’s long-term fiscal benefit to WSSU has resulted in high graduation rates, higher retention rates, and higher persistence rates amongst his students. Upswing has helped keep students who would normally be bound for attrition in school and thus helps WSSU keep its tuition dollars so it can reinvest in their students.


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