The Ohio State University at Newark

Buckeye Generation Learning Community is Helping Students Succeed

NEWARK, Ohio, November 28, 2016 – Students who are part of the Buckeye Generation Learning Community (BGLC) at The Ohio State University at Newark are more likely to be successful in college than other first-generation college students. The BGLC was created in the autumn of 2012 to provide academic and social support to first-generation students. After looking at four academic years of data, Associate Dean Melissa Jungers and Retention Coordinator Jamie White are calling the program a success.

“We looked at the students’ academic performance, retention rates, graduation rates and social engagement after being a part of the BGLC,” said Jungers. “BGLC students showed a pattern of higher cumulative grade point averages, retention rates and graduation rates than other first-generation students. BGLC students also performed as well as their non-first-generation peers.”

The BGLC was created after administrators realized first-generation college students on the Newark campus were in need of support. First-generation students are those students whose parents have earned no more than a high school degree. Of the 1,225 full-time degree-seeking students who started at Ohio State Newark in 2011, 36 percent of them were first-generation college students, and only 51 percent of those students were still in college the following autumn semester. After the first three years of the BGLC, students in the program had an average retention rate of 58.4 percent after their second autumn semester.

“First-generation college students have less access to information about college campuses and resources that are available than second-generation college students and are less academically successful,” said White. “The BGLC is a way to provide that support to the students who need it the most.”

Students in the BGLC take three common courses in the autumn semester, which include two general education courses and a first-year introductory course. The BGLC can have up to 80 students each academic year. Students are required to engage in social and cultural activities and receive tutoring support for learning community courses facilitated by peer coaches. The students also receive a $300 book stipend for autumn semester and must have a 2.2 GPA in the autumn semester to get another $300 book stipend for spring semester.

“Higher education institutions must continue to find ways to support the unique needs of first-generation college students and promote their development as they face the difficulties associated with college,” said Jungers. “We are proud that the BGLC has shown success over its first four years, and we plan to build on that.”

Jungers and White made a presentation about their findings at the National Symposium of Student Retention in Norfolk, Virginia in early November.

“We are proud to share these results with others in higher education in hopes that we can continue to help first-generation college students succeed in the classroom and beyond,” said White.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017-18 academic year. Students can fill out the application online here. Applications are due April 1.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.