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Division of Student Affairs

Washington State University College Assistance Migrant Program
Peer Evaluation Report

Prepared by:
Amas Aduviri
December 8, 2017

 

A complete PDF version of this report can be requested by contacting the Division of Student Affairs via email or call (509) 335-4531.

Introduction


This evaluation report is the result of a request by Lucila Loera, CAMP Interim Director
and Assistant Vice-President, Office for Access, Equity & Achievement, Washington
State University (WSU), College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), for an onsite
peer evaluation. The external peer evaluator mainly examined specific aspects of the
program related to student file review and financial files review as requested by the
program. The external peer evaluator visited the program for two and half days.
According to its website, WSU was established in 1890 and the main campus is located
in Pullman, with other campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and Everett. WSU
is a comprehensive four-year university that offers strong professional career programs
designed specifically to meet the needs of its students. With over 20,000 students
enrolled on the main campus and another 10,000 students on other campuses, about 30
percent are multicultural. According to its fact sheet, WSU fulfills its mission as
Washington’s land-grant research university by delivering knowledge and the benefits of
research activities to people throughout the state. WSU’s ultimate goal is to become
recognized as one of the nation’s 25 public research universities, preeminent in research
and discovery, teaching and engagement by 2030.

The WSU CAMP program has been in existence since 2006. Since the inception of the
first grant, the WSU CAMP program has served over 500 students prior to receiving the
funding for this grant cycle this year. By the end of the third grant cycle, more than 250
students will be served by 2022. It’s important to point out that WSU is one of the fewer
four year residential institutions in the country that continues to serve more than 50 new
CAMP students each year. The overarching goal of the program is to help students break
the cycle of poverty by breaking down educational barriers and facilitating their progress
toward post-secondary degree attainment. Most of the participants are recruited from the
Yakima valley all the way to Brewster in the Okanagan valley. According to the WSU
grant proposal, most of the agricultural work in Washington focuses primarily on picking
apples, cherries, pears, red raspberries, and hops. Also, Washington is second only to
California in the number of agricultural commodities produced, including the wine
industry.

WSU CAMP regularly conducts evaluations because it was included in the proposal
narrative (Quality of Program Evaluation, p.22-25). The WSU CAMP program is
currently staffed with the following staff members: Lucila Loera, Interim Director and
Assistant Vice-President, Office for Access, Equity & Achievement; Rafael Benavides
Pruneda, Academic Coordinator & Retention Specialist; Jesus Enriquez, Recruiter; Maria
Barrera and Adi Villanueva, Technical Assistants; and Ian Norland, Program
Coordinator. For this evaluation period, the program is serving 52 students out of 50
funded to serve.


Common characteristics of WSU CAMP program:


Outreach and recruitment:

The WSU CAMP provides outreach and recruitment of
potential participants in the state of Washington, specifically in the following target areas

where most of the farm workers are concentrated: Brewster, Bridgeport, Mabton, Othello,
Sunnyside, Toppenish, Wapato, Warden, Wahluke, Wenatchee, and Yakima area. The
Recruiter spends all year-round building connections with local feeder school districts,
and state and community agencies. Constant follow up to potential students is done in
order to meet the numbers of students served by the program.

Orientation: The WSU CAMP Orientation typically lasts two days and is intended to
help prepare recruited students and parents get acquainted with the program and staff.
The bilingual student and parent orientation occurs in May where students are informed
about the financial aid packages and enroll in classes for fall semester. This is a
collaboration effort with the university’s summer orientation programs and the
Multicultural Student Services (MSS) program. In addition, the program provides a
student and staff retreat in the fall as an activity for group bonding, helping students
develop trust in staff, and emphasizing goal setting and overcoming obstacles. These
orientation activities also provide an opportunity for staff to assess each student’s
readiness to participate fully in the program and allow students to learn about the
expectations of the program.

Tutoring: WSU CAMP participants are offered tutoring services for the duration of the
time that the students are in the program. The tutoring service mainly focuses on math,
chemistry, biology, economics, and social studies. Participants can receive additional
tutoring through the Multicultural Student Services Office.

Advising: WSU CAMP commonly provides academic advising and personal and career
counseling to all participants. This includes providing assessment of career interests,
aptitudes, and motivation. The Academic Coordinator & Retention Specialist is the main
staff to provide academic advising.

Other Support Services: Other services include CAMP workshops, mentoring through
the Multicultural Student Services, and transition and follow-up services as described in
their grant proposal. Also, counseling in the institution is available to students to assist
them in dealing with personal problems, mental health issues, substance abuse, and other
issues. In addition, WSU CAMP provides participants with a stipend for expenses not
provided by the institution.

Methods of Evaluation


In order to fully investigate the characteristics and outcomes of the WSU CAMP
program, the external peer evaluator used a variety of methods including surveys,
interviews with participants and staff, observations, document reviews, and meetings
with program staff. WSU CAMP provided access to all relevant records and set up
interviews with appropriate staff. Although interviews were confidential, anonymity is
not assured.

Student Survey: The external peer evaluator developed and administered an online
survey using Qualtrics to survey current students. The survey asked participants about

their motivations for participating in CAMP, satisfaction with the program, and some
demographic information. The response rate was 63.4% (33/52) of current enrolled
students in CAMP. This was a great response rate by the group.
The pages that follow provide a more detailed observation as the external peer evaluator
saw and heard from the various interviewees with whom he met. These elements serve as
a prelude to reflect on the program's strengths and recommendations made at the
conclusion of this report.

Areas Reviewed


I. GPRA Results
Observations:

  1. For the current 2016-17 academic year, WSU CAMP program was funded to
    serve 50 students; however, the program served 52 students in fall semester.
    There is no GPRA results for this cohort since this is the first year of the five-year
    grant cycle. The GPRA results will be reported in November 2018.
  2. Number of students served – During the last five years, the WSU CAMP program
    served 256 new participants. For the GPRA reports, the number of participants
    served was 289 which includes persisters/returners. WSU CAMP has a strong
    recruitment plan and is able to consistently meet the number of students to be
    served as outlined in the grant proposal.
  3. GPRA 1 - The peer external evaluator examined the GPRA results of the last five
    years. This measure is calculated by dividing the number of CAMP first
    academic year completers (the number of CAMP eligible students who
    successfully completed their first academic year of college by the end of the
    current reporting period) by the total number funded, as per the approved
    application by OME, or the total number actually served (whichever is greater),
    minus the number of persisters. The GPRA I for all the five years was 89.2%.
    The national target for GPRA I is 86%. Consequently, the program attained with
    high marks, the national GPRA target of 86%.
  4. GPRA II – The GPRA II is calculated by dividing the number of students in
    GPRA I by number of students who enrolled for their second year at an institution
    of higher education. The WSU CAMP GPRA II for all the five years was
    99.57%. Therefore, the program successfully attained the national GPRA II target
    of 85 percent.
  5. To validate its GPRA I target, the Director submits the CAMP GPRA I
    Documentation Form to the Registrar’s Office to verify and attest that all students
    were enrolled as full-time and completed their academic year as defined by
    policies. For GPRA II, the Academic Coordinator & Retention Specialist verifies
    the enrollment of all returning students, including those who are persisters by
    using the university’s enrollment database system.

 

II. Student File Review


With the permission of the Program Coordinator, eleven student files were randomly
selected for file review. From the provided list, the external peer evaluator selected
every 4th student file (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, etc.) to perform the student file review.
Each student information is well organized in a folder that is divided in different
sections that include: Eligibility, Application & Intake, Academic Services, Financial
Aid Services, Monthly Meetings (contacts) and Exit Plan.

Observations:

  1. The program's student files are located in the Program Coordinator’s area. The
    files are easy to browse through, and there is a cover page that indicates where
    students’ forms are located. The student files are well organized and appear to
    have complete demographic information, academic progress, financial
    information, monthly meetings, and copies of eligibility documentation.
  2. It appears all eleven students clearly met the eligibility requirements for the
    program. Nine students received eligibility under the MEP eligibility guidelines
    and thus, a copy of the qualifying COE was included in each of their files to attest
    to student eligibility. The qualifying dates varied from 2002 to 2016. Two
    students met eligibility through the seasonal eligibility guidelines. The amount of
    days worked in seasonal work for one student was 80 days and for the other
    student was 113 days. Both seasonal eligibilities were verified by a CAMP staff.
    All supporting documentation was included for these two students. Therefore, all
    eleven participants meet the eligibility established by the Office of Migrant
    Education (MEP).
  3. All eleven students appear to be in need of academic support and consequently in
    need of a program such as CAMP. Each student file includes a matrix form that
    ranks each student’s academic needs. None of the students were admitted under
    the university’ special admit criteria. The average GPA for all the eleven students
    is 3.26, with 2.65 being the lowest and 3.93 being the highest GPA. For a
    research institution such as WSU, the average 3.26 GPA demonstrates that WSU
    CAMP students are in need of academic support and other student services.
  4. All eleven students demonstrated need for federal financial aid assistance. The
    eleven students’ Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) was from $0 to $832. One
    student had a EFC of $19,125. Given the demonstrated EFC, the program is
    serving students with high financial needs. Also, the student survey reveals that a
    high percentage (35.3%) of students felt insufficient finance as a challenge in
    school. Therefore, providing financial services to students in high need is crucial
    for these students.
  5. All eleven students were enrolled full time for 2017 fall semester. Each student
    file includes the monthly meeting report which highlights the classes and the
    number of credits being attempted by each student. The average number of
    credits for all eleven students is 14.18 credits per semester with 12 credits being
    the lowest and 17 credits being the most attempted.
  6. The Academic Services section include documentation for the 1:1 meetings with
    the Academic Coordinator & Retention Specialist. It appears most of the monthly
    meetings forms are complete, but in some student files, the monthly meeting
    report is missing. This may be because the meeting is being scheduled or the
    filing is still in the process of being completed.
  7. The Exit Plan form was not completed because this section is done at the end of
    the academic year, during the spring semester.

III. Financial Management


The external peer evaluator examined the financial management of the program. The
Program Coordinator provided the financial files for 2016-17 and 2017-18. The actual
receipts of the grant expenses are filed by month in each folder. The grant expenses can
be tracked using the Administrative Information Systems. In addition, the up to date
expenses are tracked by the Program Administrator through an internal system.

Observations:

  1. According to the Program Coordinator, a copy of purchases and invoices are sent
    to the Business Office for record keeping, as required by federal grants. The
    copies of the receipts and invoices are maintained in the Program Coordinator's
    office for reconciliation purposes as well as for auditing purposes. A goal for the
    Program Coordinator is to keep all files electronically.
  2. All program expenditures are up to date in the university system and the Program
    Coordinator can generate an expense report within minutes. The Program
    Coordinator is very knowledgeable in navigating from one system to another in
    order to monitor all grant expenses, as well as the invoices for expenditure
    justification.
  3. The actual expenditures for reviewed year is as follow (rounded to the nearest
    dollar): Salaries: $213,338; Benefits: $72,781; Travel: $26,011; Supplies: $3,492,
    Contractual Services: $0,00; and Other: $30,289. Total Direct: $345,911. Indirect
    at 8%: $27,173. Student stipends and other support: $58,500. Total grant
    expenditure for the reviewed FY: $431,584. The total carryover balance for the
    next FY is: $975. The program has expended the proposed budget accordingly.
  4. The CAMP program does not receive additional funds from the institution. All
    program expenses are solely relied on grant funds. The state of Washington
    Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides approximatively
    $3,750 for additional financial support to WSU CAMP, including other CAMP
    programs in the state of Washington.
  5. It is clear there are several tiers of expenditure control to ensure grant funds are
    being expended under federal and state procedures and regulations. For example,
    there are different steps and cross checking before a check payment is being sent
    out to participants and vendors.
  6. According to the reviewed files, for all the grant expenses, an invoice or receipt
    was attached for the specific purchase. The external peer evaluator did not find
    any missing receipt or an expenditure without a receipt. All filing was done
    sequentially following the calendar days of each month.
  7. There were two or three expenses that needed additional justification for those
    expenses. The CAMP program did provide the Office of Sponsored Programs
    additional information and justification for those expenses. The Program
    Assistant receives training and meets with the Business Office to discuss
    budgetary issues when needed.
  8. The external peer evaluator found one questionable expenditure. An invoice was
    made to rent a space for CAMP participants to play soccer. If the activity was
    just to have a fun soccer activity, then the expense might be unallowable.
    However, the expense can be justified depending on the initial intention of the
    activity.
  9. The program is currently in the process of hiring staff to fill vacated positions.
    The positions are expected to be filled in January or February. Therefore, there
    may be some substantial carryover balance in the current budget, unless some of
    these funds are allocated to other activities related to the completion of the
    intended objectives.

IV. Participant’s Online Survey


An online survey was sent to students a week of the onsite visit. Thirty three out of 52
students (63.4%) responded to the survey. In addition, the peer external evaluator
interviewed four students. The following is the feedback provided by current and past
participants:

  1. According to the online survey, most (35.3%) of the current students learned
    about CAMP through the Recruiter. Another group (23.5%) learned about CAMP
    from the high school counselor or other staff. These results demonstrate that the
    CAMP Recruiter is being effective in recruiting students, as well as informing
    counselors about WSU CAMP in the high schools. The outcomes of this
    comprehensive recruitment is that each year, the CAMP program has served more
    students than the number of students approved in the grant.
  2. According to the survey, most (25.3%) of the students appear to be motivated and
    eager to learn. This also was very clear from the interview with the students. Part
    of the motivation comes from their willingness to change their lives for better
    through the education.
  3. Like many first generation and low-income students, CAMP students face barriers
    in getting their post-secondary degree. For many of the WSU CAMP students,
    financial barriers and the difficulty of classes seem to be a few of the barriers they
    need to overcome. Interviewed students mentioned that the CAMP staff has been
    an important factor to continuing their education because of their support and the
    services the program provides.
  4. The majority of the CAMP students feel extremely satisfied and satisfied (83.9%)
    with their experience with CAMP. Many of them are likely and quite likely
    (83.9%) to recommend the program to other students interested in the program.
  5. When asked about two most favorite experiences in CAMP, WSU CAMP
    students found meeting with Anita and Ray (previous CAMP staff), and the
    student retreat activity very helpful. These are seen as very important to them;
    one service is used on a daily basis and the other is a one-time event, but being
    important for cohort building.
  6. When asked about two least favorite experiences in CAMP. Students felt
    saddened and unhappy with the change of staff, specifically with Anita and Ray
    leaving the program. This demonstrates that current students built a strong
    relationship with the two staff members. Also, not many, but fewer students
    disliked the Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program (CLASP)
    activity.
  7. The last question asked was about how their experience can be improved in
    CAMP. Students’ answers varied from keeping the previous staff in the program
    to improving tutoring. Many students also mentioned the need for more activities
    for bonding and cohort building.

V. Program Management


The external peer evaluator did not examine the details of the program
management, academic resources and services, collaborations, and follow up
services. The focus of the visit was student file review and financial
management. However, the external peer evaluator met with the recruiter for a
short meeting.

Outreach and Recruitment

  1. The WSU CAMP recruitment effort focuses primarily in the central region of the
    state. Most of the feeder school districts are within a 2-4 hour drive from where
    the recruiter is stationed. All incoming first year students are required to live on
    campus since the institution has a mandatory living on campus policy for first
    year students, including CAMP students. After their first year, students can live
    off campus in the nearby apartment complexes.
  2. The number of students served for this evaluation period (2016-17) is 54 students.
    According to the grant proposal, the goal is to serve 50 students each year.
    However, the program is achieving the number of participants to be served
    because of the Recruiter’s experience working for several years, and also, because
    WSU CAMP is known among the feeder schools. Also, in 2015-16, the program
    met its approved number of participants to be served.
  3. According to the survey, many students acknowledged the support and help of the
    Recruiter for making their enrollment at WSU CAMP possible. Also, the student
    survey indicates that many (27.45%) of the students hear about the program via
    word of mouth and through their siblings.

VI. Summary of Strengths and Recommendations


Strengths:


The WSU CAMP program has a presence on the campus and can be recognized for the
following specific strengths:

  1. Most importantly, the WSU CAMP has consistently meets the national GPRA
    measures. This is a result of the ultimate program support to its participants. The
    majority of the participants are completing the minimum 24 credits and are in
    good academic standing. The average five-year GPRA performance is higher
    than the national targets.
  2. The program continues to successfully meet or surpass the number of students
    being served each year on campus. The program proposed students to be served
    according to their grant proposal is 50 student each year. This is a result of a
    great recruitment plan and the ability of the recruiter to connect well with the
    feeder schools and other key partners that provide support with recruitment. It’s
    important to point out that fewer residential institutions in the country that host
    CAMP programs have served 50 students or more each year.
  3. According to the student satisfaction survey, 38.7% and 48.4% of students
    strongly agree and agree that WSU CAMP study space is adequate for their study
    needs. Also, 45.1% and 38.7% of the students strongly agreed and agreed that the
    tutoring support provided by CAMP is adequate. In addition, 35.4% and 41.9%
    of the students strongly agreed and agreed that the CAMP bilingual orientation
    was helpful to them and their families as they began their education experience at
    WSU.
  4. The program continues to provide needed financial support to participants.
    Students receive semester stipends as well as other financial support for
    emergencies when funds are available. A high number of students mentioned in
    the survey that the CAMP staff helped them understand their financial situation
    and options. An 80.6% of the students were satisfied with the financial assistance
    received through CAMP. The financial support through stipends and other forms
    of financial support are important to the success of first generation, low-income
    students. Some of the students interviewed were highly motivated and at the
    same time grateful for the support of the program.
  5. It appears all grant expenditures are within the guidelines of EDGAR and the
    Program Coordinator meets on a regular basis with the Office of Sponsored and
    Research Programs that oversees the grant. No unallowable grant expenses have
    been recorded during this FY.
  6. The CAMP students’ files are easy to browse and the participant’s support is well
    documented in the files. Each file is clearly divided into different sections such as
    Eligibility, Application & Intake, Academic Services, Financial Aid Services,
    Monthly Meetings (contacts) and Exit Plan, which facilitates the browsing of
    students’ files. All reviewed files were complete and well organized and all
    eligibility documentation is in place.
  7. All reporting (Annual Performance Report and Revised Budget) was sent within
    the timeline requested by the Office of Migrant Education and also made readily
    available for the peer external reviewer, including the grant proposal and the
    budget narrative.

Suggestions:
The WSU CAMP is a well-established program; however, the program continues to
improve the services to its participants.

  1. Students in the interview and the satisfactory survey mentioned the need for more
    group activities to build a strong cohort. Some feel they are already disconnected
    from the other students. They felt the group activities at the beginning of the year
    such as the retreat, were strong, but lately there have been almost no cohort
    building activities. Perhaps the staff should organize small get-togethers
    throughout the year, such as a welcome gathering during the spring semester.
  2. It appears the monthly stipend provided to each of the students is credited directly
    to each student’s account. For example, if a student has an outstanding balance,
    the stipends reduces the balance because the WSU Financial Aid Office sees the
    stipends as part of financial aid support to students. The CAMP Non-Regulatory
    Guidance in K3 mentions, “While the Department has no regulatory definition of
    the term “stipend”, for the purposes of the CAMP one may consider a stipend to
    be project funds provided directly to participating students, or on their behalf, to
    offset living or educational expenses that are not included in other financial
    support. Stipends should help to ensure the student’s continued participation in
    the project and ultimate completion of the first academic year of a program of
    study at the IHE. A stipend could, for example, be given to offset the cost of
    transportation to and from classes for a commuter student in a CAMP project, or
    to help the student purchase necessary books and supplies not otherwise provided
    by the project. A commuter CAMP project might also provide its students with a
    stipend to purchase meals while on campus for classes.” Therefore, maybe the
    program can consult with the Financial Aid Office to find ways to have the
    stipends be directly given to each student.
  3. Three main staff no longer work in the program. Many students felt somewhat
    frustrated with the changes and some students felt abandoned. I believe this is a
    natural frustration from the students because previous staff had built a great
    relationship with most of the them. As stated in the grant, the program should
    begin the process to hire replacement for those vacancies. The process has
    already started and it is expected new staff will be in place at the beginning of
    spring semester.
  4. The grant financial recordkeeping is in place. The Program Coordinator is
    knowledgeable of the grant management. He will soon transition to only
    managing one grant. There is an extensive grant financial procedures manual that
    appears to have some outdated information since the creation of the manual. I
    suggest the financial procedures manual be revised and simplified to make it more
    useful for an everyday use.
  5. As the new staff are hired and added to the program, they should organize a staff
    retreat in the summer to work on program development, plan activities, work on
    the timeline for the program, and continue to become more knowledgeable about
    the grant's goals and objectives, especially since a new leadership will be in place
    and new staff members will be hired by the program.
  6. Program staff should start developing the progress of the program in moving from
    “knowledge” of evidence to the “skill” of building evidence as being required by
    the Office of Migrant Education. These steps should include: developing the
    program’s Logic Model, the program’s intervention and relevant outcomes,
    determining and setting up an equivalent comparison group, the program’s impact
    study which includes data collection during program implementation and a
    program’s evaluation timeline, and finally the impact of the study design.

Conclusion


Based on the review of the different areas of the WSU CAMP program, the external peer
evaluator believes that the program is working to be an effective academic support
program and believes certain student support services can be more effective with the
implementation of the suggestions from this report. It is important to note that the
program peer evaluation was intended to assist program staff in examining and improving
their services for students from migrant and seasonal migrant backgrounds. Overall, the
WSU CAMP program is well established as evidenced by the fact that the program has a
strong support from the institution, and is meeting or exceeding most of their grant goals
and objectives.


Finally, program staff should carefully analyze the student survey responses to find cues
where the program can improve their services. When possible, staff should let
participants know of activity changes due to their responses. As a result, participants will
feel listened to and more identified with the program.


The external peer evaluator welcomes any questions or concerns regarding these
recommendations. The external evaluator appreciates the cooperation provided by all
participants in this evaluation. Everyone who was interviewed was very cooperative and
forthcoming with information and documents requested.