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FAU To Start College Boot Camp To Improve Graduation Rates

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Flickr user Clemens v. Vogelsang

Florida Atlantic University has struggled recently with low graduation rates. To improve these numbers, the school is starting the JumpStart program, a college boot camp for students who might look like risky bets for graduating.

JumpStart grants students a conditional acceptance. They take two or three regular courses, and those who do well are officially accepted into the school.

Those who don’t make the grade get the experience, and their less-than-stellar GPA doesn’t follow them or FAU around.

Only 20 percent of students at FAU graduate in four years, and just 40 percent within six years — much lower rates than other schools in the state.

Because now funding to Florida's public universities will be tied to performance metrics like retention and graduation, FAU is losing out on $5.2 million until it gets graduation numbers up.

“We want the students to be successful,” says Gary Perry, provost and vice president for academic affairs at FAU. “Sometimes admitting students is not in their best interests. Its better if they go and get some experience of working in a college and then apply to a university a little later in their career.”

The university is also working to hire 26 new academic counselors to help shepherd students through their years at the school.

Florida Atlantic University will present this improvement plan to the Florida University System Board of Governors Wednesday morning along with two other universities who have also struggles with performance metrics: University of West Florida and New College of Florida.

After a year, if things are improving, the state will released the $5.2 million to the school.