Return to Program Profiles Alverno College

Participants in the Alverno College Promise Scholars program developed a Graduation Review and Development (GRAD) plan and signed an academic and behavioral agreement (the “Promise” in Promise Scholars). Through this “contract,” the student agreed to attend all classes, complete assignments, and attend at least one small group session each semester. The contract enabled the scholar and advisor to measure progress. Small group sessions (28) covered a variety of topics ranging from time management to family issues.

Proactive advising and student case management were effective in assisting students who required additional support to navigate college life. (This responsibility was the most time-consuming of the tasks assigned to the program’s adviser.) Careful coordination among various student affairs functions led to hundreds of referrals for institutional support of various kinds.
 
One of the intriguing aspects of the Promise Scholars program was the emergency fund for participants. Aimed as a key retention strategy, emergency grants were made to 65 Promise Scholars averaging $285. Sixty-four of these students have persisted.
 
A $250,000 gift to the college led to the creation of an endowment to fund scholarships for Promise Scholars. This fund provides a two-year $10,000 scholarship each year. In addition, a corporate grant provides scholarship support for graduating seniors in the Promise Scholars program. Each senior receives $1,000.
 
Finally, Alverno has begun a small alumni mentoring program that paired nine area alumnae with nine Promise Scholars. Students have benefitted from these additional adult models in their lives.


Program Outcomes

Promise Scholar participants had increased retention, and the group’s retention rate was 8.4 percent higher than the comparison group’s retention rate. Retention among second-to-third year participants was 12 percent higher than the retention of similar students in the comparison group. Eighteen of 27 seniors (67 percent) enrolled during the first year of the program graduated.
 
The Promise Scholars Program contributed to the college’s success in attracting additional grant funds. The college received a $150,000 grant, which will allow the size of the program to double. The institution is strengthened because of this work and the constituent support it has garnered.


Program Updates

Alverno is taking steps to make certain the Promise Scholars program can continue and expand, seeking financial support from a variety of sources.