Return to Program Profiles Juniata College

Next Generation Scholarships at Juniata College were funded by the college’s CIC/Walmart Award and were awarded to Pell-eligible first-generation students who were required to participate in a one-week, pre-orientation immersion experience called InBound Retreats. These retreats offered a “softer start” for first-generation students. The scholarships paid the costs of the retreat along with $300 for lost wages. The scholarships also included an allocation for books and academic fees up to $400 in the fall semester.
In these retreat settings, participants met their classmates and experienced something of transition through outdoor exploration, artistic expression, spiritual retreats, service learning, or social empowerment. Each retreat had approximately ten first-year participants and was led by two upper-class student leaders who helped reduce the common fears encountered by many college-bound students. The college offers many different retreat options to meet the diverse interests of incoming students. For example, in the category of “culture,” retreats might be offered in dance, theater, or pop culture. In “outdoors and recreation,” retreats might be offered in backpacking, cycling, or martial arts. In “service and leadership” typical retreats would be Big Brothers/Big Sisters and environmental science.


Program Outcomes

The first-to-second semester retention rate of the first group of Next Generation Scholarship recipients was 100 percent, compared with 91 percent retention for first-generation, Pell-eligible students who did not choose to participate in the program and 94 percent retention for all first-year students.
In year two, the program increased retention of scholarship recipients—92 percent of program participants were retained, compared with 77 percent of all first-generation students and 85 percent of all students.
Prior to this award, Juniata did not have the capability to track the progress of first-generation students or at-risk students. That has changed, and the institution is strengthened for it.
In the third year of the program, Juniata enrolled its second-largest class ever, and the InBound Program is perceived to have contributed to improved admission rates. The number of first-generation students who enrolled also increased by 12 percent in year three.


Program Updates

For 2009–2010 the college increased the number of students actively participating in the program and adjusted the eligibility requirements to include first-generation students whose expected family contribution to their education is $6,000 or less.
The InBound Retreats continue to be offered, but have been reduced in length from a week to three days. The cost of the retreats has been incorporated into the enrollment charges so that all can participate.