ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University announced new changes are coming to keep students enrolled and some of them are already in place.
The changes stem from recommendations by a student-based task force.
The task force was formed in November to do an in-depth study of the student experience.
The group gave a full list of suggestions. Then students and leadership at the university came up with an action plan that will focus on three key areas.
"It just may take a little extra time, but I think we can do pretty much all of the things the students have asked for," said Interim President at Albany State University Marion Fedrick.
Fedrick said students should be starting to see some of the changes the university has made in the last few weeks thanks to the suggestions made by the student-led task force.
"They did a great job of identifying what was wrong and I think an even better job of giving recommendations," said Fedrick.
The university is keeping its focus on three key areas for immediate changes, starting with making the experience for first-year students better.
"That first year is when students decide whether or not they want to stay at ASU," explained Fedrick.
A plan is in place to train staff and resident assistants to come up with new programming that will help students find success.
The university will also establish a student programming group that will be led by Student Affairs.
The next focus area is to get students involved in work-study jobs and internships on and off campus.
"Dr. Dunning previously started internships with our local community," said Fedrick. "We want to expand those and kind of increase those internship opportunities."
One area where students voiced some of the most concern, is the third area of focus. It will look at the enrollment process and getting financial aid.
"We are going to go by what the Department of Education said we should be doing. That is a little different than what we have done in the past," said Fedrick.
Already the university has set up a new call center and hours for the financial aid office. Students will also see more signs around campus reminding them of deadlines and upcoming events to help them with questions about financial aid.
"We're going to really work with parents and students beforehand to make sure they know what they need to do," said Fedrick.
Another suggestion students had was to put a Vice President of Student Affairs in place. Fedrick said students felt there was a lack of staffing in the Student Affairs offices.
Since the suggestion, the university hired interim Vice President Aaron "Chip" Reese, who held a similar role at Columbus State. With his guidance, the university is filling many student affairs positions to help with the student experience.
Preserving the history of the university is something students said is also very important to them.
Despite rumors that the alma mater is changing, Fedrick said it will stay the same.
Here is the full list of recommendations by the students:
Here is what the university is planning to do in the immediate future: