Last Friday, at the Board of Regents meeting at Dixie State University, the Utah Higher Education Staff Association (UHESA) presented their newly-launched initiative, Bring a Friend to Finish – Return, Learn and Earn (BFF). The goal of this initiative is to encourage the staff of Utah’s higher education institutions to reach out to friends in their respective communities who did not complete a college degree. These friends will be referred to UHESA, who will identify staff members to serve as networking mentors and help them navigate through college. This initiative is a complement to institutional strategies and the Board of Regents’ ten-year plan to increase completion rates.
Utah consistently ranks among the top states for number of individuals with “some college and no degree.” According to a Lumina Foundation report, Utah ranks the second-highest in the percentage of 25-64 year-olds who have completed some college but not earned a degree – 28%. A variety of factors impact a student’s ability to persist and finish college, including: pausing or delaying college for charitable or religious service, life events like marriage or family, or working a job to help finance college.
UHESA is comprised of 25,000+ staff members of the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions and is led by delegates/representatives of each institutional staff association. The mission of UHESA is to “unify, train, educate, and cultivate higher education staff and their associations.” Staff members of USHE institutions provide valuable products and services to students, faculty, administration, the educational community, and the Utah community at large.