A segment about low-income and first-generation students who are finding success at UCF broadcasted nationwide Sunday on 60 Minutes.
A crew from the venerable CBS news show was at UCF in October at the same time Bill and Melinda Gates visited campus. The news show and the Gateses both came to learn more about how the university is helping students to succeed and graduate.
60 Minutes anchor Scott Pelley sat down for an emotional interview with Bill and Melinda Gates and a group of UCF Gates Scholars – students whose college expenses have been paid by the Gates Foundation.
In addition to the TV segment, Scott Pelley also interviewed Maribeth Ehasz, vice president for UCF’s student development and enrollment services, about innovative ways the university is boosting student success.
Over the past decade, UCF has more than doubled the number of bachelor’s degree graduates for students who come from low-income and minority backgrounds. In the past five years alone, nearly 18,000 first-generation students and more than 33,000 students who are eligible for Pell Grants have earned bachelor’s degrees.
In the interview, Ehasz says she’s used 20 years of data to find a correlation between factors like gym use and housing conditions to identify students who are at a high risk of dropping out. UCF has shown remarkable success in retention and graduation rates among first-generation and low-income students by using software to help identify students at risk of dropping out and then getting counselors involved to help them back on track.
“Low-income students make up about 40 percent of our population,” says Ehasz in the interview. “First-generation students make up about 25 percent of our population. Over the past seven or eight years as I’ve been tracking, I’ve seen that our retention rates have increased, particularly for the first-gen[eration] students, by 10 percentage points – that’s pretty big.”
To watch and read more highlights from the 60 Minutes broadcast, visit CBS News.