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UNC makes first investment in 10-year academic support plan

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous headline for this story mischaracterized the nature of the University's support for the new academic support program. UNC has made the first investment in a 10-year academic support plan. The headline has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error. 

The day after the report was released, Folt told The Daily Tar Heel the University had already spent $5 million to restructure its advising services.

Lee May, director of the Academic Advising Program, said in an email she has no knowledge of the money. Michelle Brown, head of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes and member of the Faculty Athletics Committee, said none of the $5 million Folt mentioned is coming to her program.

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes now directly reports to the Provost’s Office, which May said might account for the money Folt was talking about.

In the late 1980s, former Department of Athletics Director John Swofford, who is the current commissioner of the ACC, moved the program from the Department of Athletics to the College of Arts and Sciences, but Wainstein’s report said the program’s staff and managers still believed they reported to the Athletic Department’s administrators.

Joel Curran, a spokesman for Folt, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Karen Moon, a spokeswoman for the University, said Folt was referring to a University-wide initiative to improve graduation rates.

As part of the White House summit on college access and success in January, Moon said UNC committed to spending $4 million during the next four years to raise ?graduation rates, focusing on low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.

In an email, Moon said Provost Jim Dean formed a group of faculty and staff to create a plan to start the initiative. This group made its first annual investment of $459,200 last month, she said.

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes has seen a lot of changes in the last year.

In fall 2013, a team of five academic advisers in the College of Arts and Sciences came to the Loudermilk Center for Excellence to advise student-athletes, Brown said.

Since then, student-athletes have had to meet with an academic adviser once per semester instead of following the requirements for specific schools or majors, she said.

Brown said this helps athletes look long-term and plan their schedules with intention as they balance their academic and athletic schedules.

“The benefit is being able to be intentional of exactly how they can plan out their academics and be successful with their academics at the same time while they balance their athletics,” she said.

Brown also started an initiative called My Academic Plan, which provides student-athletes who are struggling with even more academic support.

Incoming student-athletes, transfer student-athletes or student-athletes who have a grade point average below 2.5 are assigned to the program. She said tutors for the program are also open to all student-athletes who are interested.

Brown said My Academic Plan replaced the prior study hall program for student-athletes. She said this program is a lot more specific to the individual and his or her situation.

“There’s lots of initiatives that together improve communication and awareness and all these pieces together hope to build an environment where we hope to reduce the opportunities for any of that to happen again.”

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