[Case Study] Grambling State University: Meeting the Needs of Today’s Learners
The Challenge: Helping Adult Learners Persist Toward Their Degree
With a longstanding tradition of excellence, Grambling State University emphasizes the value and importance of each student, exemplified by its motto: Where Everybody Is Somebody. Grambling embraces its founding principle of educational opportunity and seeks to reflect in all of its programs the diversity present in the world.
Fulfilling this commitment includes meeting the changing needs of today’s learners by expanding access to high-quality education and offering flexible options for degree completion. To date, more than 31 million U.S. adults have left college without receiving a credential, and in the wake of the global pandemic, the recession continues to disproportionately impact those without a degree. In fact, the unemployment rate is nearly twice as high for people with some college but no degree, compared to those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The Solution: Earned Admissions & Online Degree Completion
To increase students’ academic progress and degree completion, the university decided to provide new pathways that support and meet students where they are in their academic pursuits and life. To achieve this, Grambling State University created Grambling Global Academy in partnership with StraighterLine to reach an even broader population of students including stop-outs, military service members, and adults who have relocated for work.
In November 2020, Grambling Global Academy launched with the General Studies pathway which consisted of 20 course options. Since then, Grambling Global Academy has grown to include two additional pathways—the General Education pathway and the Developmental pathway. These pathways offer flexible course options and support that bolsters new opportunities for students to achieve their goal of completion while allowing students to persist toward their degree at their own pace. And in the case of the Developmental pathway, it assists students in attaining a developmental foundation prior to their first semester of enrollment.
Grambling Global Academy helps adults pursue their academic goals and finish their bachelor’s degree through access to low-cost, online courses no matter where they reside. Tuition for the pathways is only $125 a month, which includes student-centered support with live tutoring, student advisors, and coaching services seven days a week.
The Implementation: Keeping Grambling Front & Center
Since 2014, Grambling has partnered with StraighterLine to support students who needed a required gen ed course(s) but were unable to take them through the university due to scheduling or financial aid reasons. These students were referred directly to StraighterLine as needed, and upon successful completion of their course(s), they would continue with their university program. So when Grambling State University set forth with the objective to better help adult learners persist toward degree completion, StraighterLine was the obvious partner.
Grambling aimed to better prepare incoming students for success and continue serving current students by providing flexible and cost-effective coursework that complemented their existing university courses. It was essential, however, that the students still felt like they were still part of the Grambling community. StraighterLine developed the Grambling Global Academy platform and experience within the school’s unique brand to keep Grambling top of mind.
The Impact: And the Future
In the 18 months since program launch, 190 students have enrolled in Grambling Global Academy. Students who are eligible to transfer credit back to Grambling State University successfully finish an average of 1.6 courses, for a total of 110 courses completed to date. The success of the program has demonstrated just how important this sort of course flexibility is for today’s students. StraighterLine continues to provide support to Grambling, while working with the university to identify even more strategies and solutions for students moving forward.
“The research is clear that completing a college degree makes an enormous difference in terms of long-term career potential, earnings and economic security—and this moment of economic uncertainty is a critical time for millions of returning learners to complete their studies,”
said Burck Smith, StraighterLine’s chairman and founder.
"Grambling has recognized that by providing low-cost, low-risk courses, learners can not only start their higher ed journey but also, when needed, continue and get back on track toward a bachelor’s degree."