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New program implemented to help athlete's grades is a success

23 June 2011

This past year athlete's grades at Pratt Community College improved because of the PASS program, which was implemented in the fall 2010.

"It was important to implement the PASS program because we want to improve our retention rates and we want our student/athletes to have all the necessary tools needed to succeed," said Kurt McAfee, athletic director.

McAfee then added that retention is not a unique issue at PCC. All institutions of higher learning struggle with it.

"We wanted to be proactive," McAfee said. "It costs us a significant amount of money to go out and recruit new student/athletes as opposed to retaining those who we recruited from the previous year. I believe their success in academics plays a key role in retaining our kids."

The PASS program focuses on three facets that include orientation, study hall and career building to help students succeed in college and after. In the PASS program all first time student athletes at PCC are required to take a one day orientation that tells them what the different college departments are and how those departments can help them. They also learn test and note taking skills and how to organize their days. A four hour a week study hall is required for all student athletes who get below a 2.5 grade point average in their core classes. During that time students can do homework and be tutored if they are having issues.

While in the PASS program all students are required to take an assessment test that tells them where their skill set is and what jobs they would be good at.

"This gives students who only think about athletics a place to start in thinking about their future after sports," said Jerrid Schicke, director of the program.

After they take the assessment, the program gives students many options for a career and Schicke said students are often surprised with what they see. According to Schicke this is also positive for students who already know what they want to go into.

"Students who have already chosen a path can gain further knowledge about what they will be successful doing and it also gives them backup and secondary degree options," he said.

After the spring 2011 semester, overall the athletic department had a 3.13 gpa, which was up from a 2.81 in the fall semester and up from a 2.56 a year ago. This year every women's on campus met national standards for All Academic Teams, which means that the team had to have a 3.0 overall gpa.