49er Finish Published in AASCU Innovation Exchange

Categories: News

Project Title: 49er Finish Program

Institution Name: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Innovation Category: Student Success

Project Director: Jillian Stubbs, Academic Advisor/49er Finish Program Coordinator

Contact Information: (704) 687-5109, jillian.stubbs@uncc.edu

Website: 49erfinish.charlotte.edu

Project Description:

Using innovative marketing strategies, unique personalized advising, and intentional programming, the 49er Finish Program was created to support the graduation and retention goals of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Initiated in 2005, the 49er Finish Program, which operates out of the Office of Adult Students and Evening Services, was initially implemented with one-time funding of $15,000 to develop marketing materials and hire a temporary program coordinator to recruit former students who had stopped out to complete their degrees. The program positively impacts the career and personal goals of student graduates, has enhanced degree production in academic departments, and has generated additional income through tuition revenues.


  • Recruit former UNC Charlotte students who have completed at least 90 credit hours and who have stopped-out for more than one year and are in good academic, financial, and judicial standing with the university.
    • Measured by number of 49er Finish students re-enrolled in the university
  • Retain 49er Finish students through to graduation who are actively enrolled at the university.
    • Measured by the number of 49er Finish who graduate
  • Support 49er Finish students through personalized academic advising.
    • Measured by the number of academic advising appointments with 49er Finish students and their qualitative feedback on advising services


  • 694 students have re-enrolled as part of the program
  • 586 program participants have graduated from the university
  • Approximately 250 student advisement meetings conducted annually
  • Two sample survey responses are reflective of participants’ appreciation of the academic advising that accompanies the program: “The Coordinator was very proactive and helpful in helping me sort through a 20 year old analysis to determine my status,” and “The Coordinator is very helpful and has went out of her way to assist me.”

Challenges/Problems Encountered:

Achieving buy-in from faculty, department chairs, and associate deans to support the goals and objectives of the program was initially a challenge, considering curriculum exceptions to the new catalog were requested to assist students in graduating in a timely manner. Collaboration with academic departments continues to be an ongoing initiative and is addressed through increasing awareness of the benefits of the program and strengthening partnerships with various academic departments. Additionally, navigating older curriculum to help students obtain as much academic credit as possible continues to be an area of focus, as many policies and course requirements have changed.

Evaluation Approach:

The evaluation process involves the articulation of intended outcomes and the collection of data that support the institutional goals and mission of the university. The process has evolved as the Program continues to grow, with data guiding and supporting program intervention and enhancement. The 49er Finish Coordinator manages the assessment process and closely collaborates with the Office of Institutional Research.

Potential for Replication:

When adopting this program for replication in other settings, institutions should consider the appropriate criteria for identifying stop-out students to meet the needs and goals of the institution, as well as the most effective marketing techniques, given the targeted audience. Furthermore, institutions need to evaluate and identify the unique challenges of the stop-out student population on their campus and consider solutions and incentives to recruit and retain this population.

Additional Resources:

2012 Award Recipient, American Association of Adult and Continuing Education

CEO-to-CEO Contact:

Philip Dubois , Chancellor
(804) 687-5727