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Summer student success: FSU's free summer school reaches record 4,463 enrollment

By Staff Report, posted Jul 3, 2024 on

On June 19, FSU Chancellor Darrell T. Allison announced the gift to 
students, faculty, and staff in the Rudolph Jones Student Center 
Amphitheater and that 4,463 students are attending summer school. Photo provided by FSU.

In its fourth year, Fayetteville State University’s 30-60-90 Free Summer School Program reached record enrollment for the second consecutive year, just days after receiving a $750,000 private foundation donation that will further support its summer school student success goals. 

On June 19, FSU Chancellor Darrell T. Allison announced the gift to students, faculty and staff in the Rudolph Jones Student Center Amphitheater adding the news that 4,463 students are attending summer school. The enrollment increase is nearly 21% from the program's inception in 2021.

“We launched the idea of 30-60 90 Free Summer School in 2021 in the hopes that this concept would truly take [off] at Fayetteville State University,” said Chancellor Allison in his address to the crowd. “Today, we stand here fully committed where 30-60-90 Summer School has become an integral part of FSU. 

“We are no longer a two-semester institution – fall and spring, but FSU is now a three-semester institution where 66% or two-thirds of our nearly 7,000 student population is enrolled in summer school. FSU is doubling down on its commitment to ensuring that students have real pathways of obtaining their degree in four years or less, which also equates to less debt in their pursuit of graduation,” Chancellor Allison added.

The large crowd also heard about the successes and accomplishments since launching the Free Summer School Program, like first-time freshmen retention rate. “Our one-year retention rate for first-time freshmen cohorts in fall 2020 was 63.3%,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success & Enrollment Management Pamela Baldwin, Ed.D., said during the event. “In fall 2021, we saw an increase to 69.7%. Fall 2022, another increase to 77.7%, and I am excited to share we project another increase for fall 2023.”

FSU student, Deborah Cathcart, recounted her personal experience with summer school. “The benefits of the Free Summer School program are invaluable and [the program] has significantly decreased the financial burden of my family,” Cathcart said. “The opportunity to take free courses during the summer has placed me ahead of some of my peers, putting me on a smoother path toward timely graduation.”

FSU’s 30-60-90, Free Summer School Program is a completion assistance program aimed at helping students graduate on time, in four years or less. Programs like the 30, 60,90 Initiative also promote lowering student debt aligning with UNC System and State of North Carolina priorities.

“The 30-60-90, Initiative with the focus on free summer sessions is truly game-changing and groundbreaking across the system,” said David English, Ph.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs with UNC System. “This model of dedication to student success backed by private donors investing in the program… is a testament to the confidences that individuals have in this institution and its students."

The $750,000 private donation to Fayetteville State University to support summer school operations is evidence of the community’s advocacy and backing of the 30-60 90, Free Summer School Program. It additionally allows FSU to highlight the program’s successes, such as two consecutive years of record-high enrollment and increasing the number of graduates and improving fall-to-fall retention rates.

“This is the latest private contribution to our summer school initiative,” said Chancellor Allison. “Since 2021, FSU has received more than $3.1 million for the Free Summer School Program, which speaks very strongly about our program’s success in helping FSU students to finish.”

Emphasizing being a three-semester institution, FSU provides up to seven free credit hours to students during the summer, which helps students reach or exceed the num ber of credits needed to progress to graduation. Additionally, completion assistance programs within the UNC System are designed to help avoid students dropping out due to financial shortfalls.





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