White Paper

Course Project Overview: White Paper

The complex problems facing colleges and universities today cannot be solved without gathering information. Often, the resulting recommendations are presented in a report called a white paper.

In this course you will prepare a white paper on solutions to a student success challenge faced by many colleges and universities: a low first-to-second-year retention rate. To inform your white paper, you will conduct research on student retention and support structures on other campuses. You will investigate the horizontal and vertical organization of programs and services as well as their costs and benefits. Your final product will be a white paper that proposes solutions for the retention challenge.

Project Outline

You will use the following scenario as the basis for your project:

You are the Director of Student Affairs at a large, urban, multicampus community college (more information on your college’s mission, programs, and student population can be found in (see attached document)

The Provost of your college is concerned about the institution’s first-to-second-year retention rate. She has asked you to investigate. The result of your investigation will be a white paper proposing institutional interventions that will keep students from leaving after their first year. In order to prepare the white paper, you will need to research first-to-second-year retention and the structure and dynamics of student support at real institutions.


Perform a review of the literature and prepare a brief paper describing institutional characteristics that contribute to increased first-to-second-year student retention.

***All references must be in annotated bibliography of resources***

Assignment length: 2 pages

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