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CONTACT: Dr. Watson Scott Swail at or (757) 430-2200


Youngstown State University Receives 2007 EPI Retention Award

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, September 10, 2007 — The Educational Policy Institute awarded the 2007 Student Retention Award to Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. The award is presented annually to institutions that have shown improvement in serving students, especially those who are historically underserved at the postsecondary level.


“Youngstown State University personifies the institution that takes several steps beyond the status quo to ensure that students have a serious chance to pursue their dreams through a successful postsecondary experience. They have illustrated an ability to overcome great obstacles in doing so,” says EPI President and CEO Dr. Watson Scott Swail.


Youngstown State University is an urban, open admission institution with an enrollment of more than 13,000 students. According to the 2006 Performance Report for Ohio’s Colleges and Universities prepared by the Ohio Board of Regents, 56 percent of Youngstown State students are first-generation college students and 58 percent are enrolled in developmental classes. Younstown is a commuter institution.


Youngstown State University created the Center for Student Progress unit within the Division of Student Affairs in 1996 to provide a more financially efficient and collaborative manner of delivering related services to the students of Youngstown State University. The primary mission of the Center for Student Progress is to ensure that students are integrated into the social and academic communities of Youngstown State University, and acquire the skills and knowledge needed to become successful learners in those communities.  The Center provides programming and direct services that help students explore, set, and attain educational goals.  It encourages, promotes, and coordinates student utilization of University resources.  Through active intervention in the lives of students, the Center for Student Progress strives to help students successfully complete their university experience.


At its inception, the Center combined four independently housed and separately operating units:  First-Year Student Services, Adult Learner Services, Multicultural Student Services, and Student Tutorial Services.  In nine years, with the addition of Orientation, Individual Intervention Services, Supplemental Instruction Services, and Disability Services, the Center has grown from four independent offices to eight coordinated services with collaborative and consistent intervention procedures and an on-line system for collecting and sharing student data.  This consolidation resulted in increased service to and retention of students. 


During the Center's first year of operation, staff provided 8,904 contact hours to 1,859 YSU students.  In 2005-06, with a staff of 15 professionals and 90 student employees, the Center provided 30,984 hours of intensive contact to 6,090 students, resulting in a retention rate of 74 percent for full-time students using its services - a 287 percent increase in contact hours and a 305 percent increase in students served since the Center's inception.


The award was officially received by Jonelle Beatrice, Associate Executive Director Student Life, Director Center for Student Progress, and Pat Shively, Associate Director Center for Student Progress, Youngstown State University at the Retention 2007 conference in San Antonio, Texas. They may be contacted directly via email by clicking on their names above.


We congratulate Youngstown State University on winning the 2007 EPI Student Retention Award.


Institutions interest in applying for the 2008 award should contract Dr. Watson Scott Swail via email.


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The Educational Policy Institute is a non-profit research center focused in issues of educational opportunity, especially for our most needy populations. Based in Virginia Beach with offices in Toronto and Melbourne, EPI conducts program evaluation, policy analysis, and conducts professional development opportunities for educational professionals throughout the education continuum. Visit the EPI website at