The institution provides student support programs, services, and activities consistent with its mission that promote student learning and enhance the development of its students.
As a land-grant institution with a mission to serve students of diverse economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and help them realize their full potential , Prairie View A&M University is committed to developing and maintaining excellent student support services. A wide range of programs and activities reflect the University’s commitment to its core values of access and quality, diversity, leadership, relevance, and social responsibility as well . The University offers student support services through every division that reports to the President of the University: Academic Affairs, Administration and Auxiliary Services, Athletics, Business Affairs, Student Affairs and Institutional Relations, and Research and Development. In addition to surveys administered by individual services, Prairie View A&M University also uses instruments like the NSSE and FSSE to determine student satisfaction with support and to make improvements accordingly. Several of the services described below, along with additional academic support services, are covered in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9.
The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) is responsible for fostering an environment that facilitates student development and learning through the following professional services and activities:
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions handles applications for enrollment in Prairie View A&M , while the Graduate School supports Admissions for graduate students . Within the Admissions Office is Veterans Affairs, which ensures that any enrolled veterans or their children and dependents receive educational benefits under the federal G.I. Bill or waivers / exemptions under the Hazlewood Act, part of the Texas Education Code . Questions about Admissions are addressed in PVLive, the University online support center that answers questions about student services and to keep a database of earlier queries for quick student reference .
The Center for Academic Support (CAS) offers tutoring in a wide range of academic subjects; mini-classes and workshops on such topics as test-taking strategies and note taking; and Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) and Graduate/Professional Examination Preparation . It is discussed in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9 as an academic support service.
In keeping with the University's Mission of meeting "the needs and aspirations of individuals, families, organizations, agencies, schools, and communities--both rural and urban" , the Office for Distance Learning supports student learning through the NorthSTAR and TTVN Telecommunications Networks for video course delivery and eCourses for online course delivery . Four sites on the main campus plus one at the College of Nursing in the Medical Center can deliver video content. Distance Learning also administers TrueOutcomes to track assessment of student learning outcomes. The Office's role in technology use is discussed fully in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.14.
The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) "is committed to providing a high level of service to support students in achieving their academic goals by helping to remove the financial barriers to college attendance. The office’s mission is to offer coordinated delivery of comprehensive student aid programs that are supportive of the recruitment and retention of academically talented and diverse students" . Combinations of loans, grants, and work-study are offered to students with demonstrated financial need who submit appropriate records and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Additionally, the Office offers a limited number of prestigious scholarships  and administers the Presidential Scholarship program  and awards from individual colleges and departments to support students in their quest to pay for college.
The Office keeps students apprised of policies and their aid status through the Panthertracks online system, email bulletins, and Financial Aid TV . Launched in summer 2009, PVLive, the new Online Support Center, has proved especially popular for questions about Financial Aid.
2002-2007 funding under Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 enabled the Office of Student Financial Aid to improve its services to students with new dual-monitor Dell computers and customer service training. As a result of the new initiatives, the average counseling sessions dropped from 15 to 10 minutes, the percentage of students processed by the 20th class day rose from 34% in 2005 to 67% in 2007, and the number of complaints fell by 22% .
Academic units at Prairie View A&M University develop curricula and procedures for international study abroad programs through a designated coordinator. These services are "for students who wish to expand their international understanding of world systems" and who want to "gain additional knowledge and skills to be better prepared for the competitive global marketplace" .
The Office of New Student Orientation offers sessions to "provide access to information and services required to successfully assist new students in transitioning to university life." Students are notified about orientation when they are accepted to Prairie View A&M, and sessions are offered for first-time freshman students and transfer students, with a special session downtown at the College of Nursing for students studying there. Orientation for first-time students has two phases; the first covers housing, academics, use of the Panthertracks system, and Health and Counseling services. The second is Panther Camp, a week of seminars, discussions, workshops, and social events designed to acclimate students to the campus. Orientation includes class advisement and registration for those who have taken the state THEA exam. Parents also have orientation activities about Treasury, the Registrar, Auxiliary Services, Financial Aid, Public Safety, and the Student Conduct Code .
Orientations are assessed extensively. A pre- and post-orientation survey for parents looks for increased understanding about financial aid, health services, meal plans, FERPA, and other important campus regulations. In Summer 2008, averages for correct responses increased for 17 out of 20 statements by as much as 42% . Freshman students indicated between 68 and 94% satisfaction with various orientation components, with the highest average ratings going to customer service and the lowest to the length of the day's program. Their parents expressed between 73 and 99% satisfaction with orientation, with the highest and lowest ratings again for customer service and length of program respectively . Details about satisfaction with advising services received during New Student Orientation are addressed in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9.
The Office of the Registrar serves students through a multitude of responsibilities that include "registration, records retention and protection, fee assessment, tuition and fee adjustments, academic program and student enrollment services policies monitoring, course publication guides, culminating data for internal and external reports, degree certification, transcripts, diploma generation, and commencement" . Students find academic calendars, exam schedules, and forms for name changes on the Web site for the Registrar's Office .
More than just housing, the award-winning University College opened in 2000 to provide a holistic, student-centered environment for freshmen and academic support services for returning students. Professional Advisors, learning community managers, community assistants, and whenever possible, faculty fellows, are assigned to each residence hall, which contains 100-125 first-time students, to give intrusive academic advisement and "activities that foster scholarship, leadership, civic engagement, cultural and personal development" .
The Division of Academic Advisement provides advising services, while the Division of Academic Enhancement encompasses the Department of Testing, Tracking, Assessment and Evaluation and nine courses for Developmental Education in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics for students who have not passed all three sections of the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) exam to meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) . Many students in Developmental Education also participate in Learning Communities, clusters of classes with common enrollment and teachers who work together.
University College also directs ACCESS, a "bridge to college" program for recent graduates of Texas high schools. Students participate in a seven-week, intensive academic boot camp and also participate in service-learning field activities .
Details about assessment and outcomes for these programs can be found in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9.
Administration and Auxiliary Services encompasses business and support operations that provide vital services to students as well as other campus constituencies.
The University Bookstore is the main source of academic textbooks, office supplies, and Prairie View A&M merchandise on campus .
All students who live in campus housing participate in one of four different meal plans during regular academic semesters or one of two choices in the summer . Formerly located in Alumni Hall from 1973 to 2003 and moved to the Willie A. Tempton Memorial Student Center, the large facility, run by Sodexho, offers a grill, pizzeria, stir-fry bar, salad bar and vegetarian options. Six retail dining facilities around campus also cater to students from 7am to 7pm, Monday through Friday . Between 2005 and 2007, student participation increased from 6,503 to 7,386, a trend that is predicted to continue and that will require further expansion of dining services .
Health and Counseling Services, located in the Owens-Franklin Health Clinic, provides professional and comprehensive medical care (including immunizations, pharmacy, and laboratory services), mental health care, health education and health promotion for a diverse population of students, faculty, staff and community . The Clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8am-6pm, and the average patient visit time was reduced from 81 minutes to 61 minutes between September 2005 and 2006 due to increased staff coverage; the average increased slightly to 64 minutes by 2007 when staff were lost . After-hours urgent care is available from Emergency Medical Technicians in Waller County from 7pm-8am Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. The Student Counseling Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:30am-5:30pm , and the University has created a Mental Health Critical Response Team for cases of crisis . To provide more counseling support, particularly to students not located on the main campus, the Clinic also entered into a contractual agreement with the University of Texas Health Science Center Student Assistance Program.
The University identification card is multi-purpose. It can be loaded with the "Panther Bucks" plan to serve a debit card accepted at dining services, the University Bookstore, the library, and laundry services. The Panther Card also acts as ID for getting into computer labs, the Health Center, and campus entertainment and athletic events at student rates .
The Parking Management Department strives "to develop and maintain a parking infrastructure that gets people where they need to be as courteously, safely, and efficient as possible." Parking permits are required for all cars on the University campus. Students who live on campus can use controlled-access residential lots, and open lots are available for guests and commuter students . Handicapped parking permits and a limited amount of metered parking also are available.
Under the authority of Subchapter E, Chapter 51 of Texas Education Code, Prairie View A&M University staffs its own police department with 27 officers, 10 security attendants, 6 dispatchers, and 3 support personnel. Officers patrol the campus "to deter and detect crime, report fires and safety hazards, and control traffic" . They offer engraving of personal property to reduce theft, escort students who are out late at night, and respond immediately to calls placed from 32 different emergency blue light phone boxes around campus. Further details about campus safety can be found in Comprehensive Standard 3.10.6.
Managed by American Campus Communities with professional on-site staff, the Department of Residential Life oversees four apartment-style facilities for student housing. Buildings are controlled-access, and units include microwaves, refrigerators, wireless Internet and cable television service. All first-year students live in University College, which has fourteen residence halls with fully furnished double-bedroom units. Amenities include professional advisers, a computer lab, movie theater, and fitness center . Returning students live in one of three "Phases" of University Village, which offer either two or four bedroom units with small kitchens. Community amenities include clubhouses, game rooms, a salon and barbershop, fitness centers, and a basketball court .
Monday through Friday, shuttles run in two routes to transport students between twelve different points on the University campus. Buses are equipped with ADA seating for students who have mobility impairments .
Varsity sports are a vital component of campus life at Prairie View A&M, with approximately 11% of the student body participating. PVAMU has a history of successful participation in Division I intercollegiate athletics for both men and women as the only remaining charter member of the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC), founded in 1920. Students can compete on 16 different teams in baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, football, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball . In April 2009, the Athletics Program received a ten-year, unconditional NCAA Division I certification, which acknowledges "governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; equity; and student-athlete well-being" .
In addition to the leadership and personal advantages of participating in intercollegiate sports, athletes’ academic progress is monitored in compliance with NCAA requirements and supported via the work of the Compliance Officer and Academic Enhancement Coordinator, who creates student-athlete handbooks, monitors academic benchmarks through student progress reports, and develops tutoring and study halls. A study hall has been available since 2003, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, and is mandatory for freshmen, transfer students, student-athletes with poor academic progress, and anyone referred by a head coach . Additionally, athletes are supported through representation on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, composed of two members of each varsity sports team .
Since 2001, the Athletic Program has reported directly to the President of the University, and since 2003, the program has been supported by a student fee of $10 per credit hour, up to $150. A full-time Athletic Director was appointed in 1998, and new coaches were hired for football in 2004, woman's basketball in 2005, men's basketball in 2006, and women's soccer in 2008. Capital Improvement projects in 2004 and 2005 approved the construction of a football practice field and soccer field, as well as renovations of lockers . More information about Intercollegiate Athletics can be found in Comprehensive Standard 3.2.11.
According to its Mission Statement, Business Affairs "is dedicated to assisting the University achieve its first-class status in teaching, research, and service through efficient and effective delivery of support services in a manner that ensures compliance with applicable laws, policies, rules, and regulations" . It includes the following student support services:
Information Technology Services (ITS), provided in partnership with SunGard Collegis, maintains several campus computing labs, provides student email accounts, and manages the campus wireless Internet system  . ITS teaches students about information security and offers antivirus software for free download. Additional support services are available through a professionally staffed HelpDesk call center. Principle 3.4.14 addresses computing access and training from ITS in more detail.
The Panther Alert System (PAS) keeps students, as well as all campus constituencies, informed about emergencies such as severe weather or safety threats. Notifications are broadcast via e-mails, phone, and text messages to registered cell phones .
As part of Financial Services, the Office of Treasury Services administers short term loans for tuition and fees, billing notices, book vouchers, and direct deposit services to assist students with paying for their education .
The Division of Student Affairs and Institutional Relations seeks "to administer a comprehensive range of student development services, activities, and programs that promote student learning and enhance the development of our students" . Among the many programs the Division offers to achieve this are the following, presented in alphabetical order:
Located in on the second floor of Evans Hall, the Prairie View A&M University Career Center "maintains the unique role of providing programs and services that assist students and graduates through a combination of recruitment, cooperative education, co-op and intern employment, academic enrichment and outreach services" . The Career Center has walk-in counseling hours Monday through Friday, 9am-12pm and 2pm-4pm, and services include interview preparation, resume and letter writing, dress for success seminars , fall and spring Career Fairs, and fall and spring Graduate / Professional School Days. Once students register with the Center, they also are eligible for on-campus recruiting and the use of NACELink, the campus job and internship database . To further facilitate connections between the industry and talented students, Career and Outreach Services works with the Prairie View A&M University Cluster, reactivated in 2004, which includes member companies from local industries .
Career and Outreach Services also supervises three other programs to support students. Through a cooperation with the College of Business, Prairie View A&M is one of over 1,500 college and universities around the world that has an active team of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). A SIFE Team was active from 1985 to 1996 and then was re-chartered in 2003 to coordinate outreach programs that educate the community about the economy, personal finance, and entrepreneurship . The Institute for Pre-College Enrichment (PCI) offers two-week residential summer programs for talented high school students to help them get ready for college and future careers. Workshops emphasize reading, math, essay writing, test-taking skills, the college application and financial aid processes, and leadership . Finally, the Parents Association encourages parents to show that they value education by talking with students about their education, meeting university faculty and staff, and becoming involved in campus activities .
Career Services conducts a regular satisfaction survey that moved from pencil-and-paper to online in 2006 based on feedback comments. From 2004 to 2008, over 90% of respondents indicated a positive impression of Career Services .
The mission of the Office of Diagnostic Testing and Disability Services is "to create and sustain a supportive environment that includes policies and practices that assist persons with disabilities to achieve at their fullest potential" . Students must present professional documentation no more than five years old to the Office in order to receive accommodations. The Office of Diagnostic Testing and Disability Services owns equipment to help students with various learning difficulties. Students with impaired mobility can work through Community Life for transportation assistance, and the majority of University facilities are ADA accessible. Students with hearing impairments are eligible for interpreter services that the Office contracts on an hourly basis . Grievance Procedures are in place and clearly communicated to the University via the Web site in cases where students feel that their rights under federal law have been compromised . Because the Office offers academic support services, Diagnostic Testing and Disability Services is covered in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9 in more depth.
The Intramural and Recreational Sports Program seeks to accomplish eleven program objectives related to recreation, socialization, health, and self-esteem through participation in individual, dual and team intramural sports . This program provides structured and organized activities while assisting in the fulfillment of such basic human needs as relaxation, socialization, accomplishment, maintenance of physical fitness and, most important, having fun. The program offers tournaments, leagues and special events for students, faculty and staff. Regular program sports include basketball, tennis, racquetball, softball, soccer, volleyball, aerobics, recreational swimming, outdoor track, table tennis, weight training, and horseshoes . Intramural and Recreational Sports are assessed using a Satisfaction Survey that indicates that 86% of participants are satisfied with the overall program .
Aerobics is a new addition to the offerings. In 2005, the program hired 4 aerobics instructors to teach classes for faculty, staff and students, and equipment for the classes was purchased in 2008. To increase student participation in fitness classes, some aerobics activities were offered in the Panther lounge of University College. Over 80% of those who indicated a preference in surveys said they were satisfied with the new sport.
The All Faiths Chapel’s "mission is to nurture and develop faith experiences that students will encounter while matriculating at Prairie View A&M University" . The Chapel sponsors student ministries in several denominations that are a vital part of campus life, as well as organizations like Bible study, Sounds of Faith Chapel Ensemble, Baptist Student Movement, Praise Dancers, Young Ministers Association, Muslim Association, Alpha Lambda Omega Sorority, and Gamma Phi Delta Fraternity . Regular services conducted by the Chapel Dean are held each Sunday, and Catholic mass, Muslim prayer hours, and Seventh Day Adventist worship also occur weekly.
Multicultural Affairs provides quality cultural programs, educational resources, leadership opportunities and support services that enhance the ability of PVAMU students to positively impact a rapidly changing and diverse world. The Director, new in Spring 2006, participates in recruitment and retention programs, such as high school career and college fairs, the annual Houston Hispanic Forum, seminars in both English and Spanish, and Collegiate G-Force, a peer mentoring program that targets underrepresented middle and high school student populations. In an effort to provide campus-wide diversity awareness, Multicultural Affairs hosts cultural and educational programs during Latino Heritage Month, Asian American Heritage Week, and International Week .
Participation in this program, which includes almost 200 colleges and universities in both America and Canada, provides Prairie View A&M students with affordable and practical opportunities to experience new educational settings. Likewise, students from other universities have an opportunity to attend classes at PVAMU. Students must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA to participate .
In partnership with the Continuing and Professional Studies Office (CAPSO) at Texas A&M University in College Station, this Office is "committed to coordinating quality, innovative continuing education programs that enhance professional development, career opportunities, and life long learning endeavors." A committee of nineteen administrators, faculty, and staff from across the University work on developing continuing education .
The Service-Learning Program "promotes civic engagement by extending the classroom to the community" with the overall goal that every student at Prairie View A&M university experience at least one service-learning activity before graduation . To this end, faculty are encouraged to integrate service-learning into their curricula.
With a mission "to inform, enrich, expand, and enhance the awareness and cultural climate of Prairie View A&M University and the community through the ongoing presentation of intellectually and aesthetically challenging programs which may not other wise be available," Special Programs and Cultural Series bring lectures, exhibitions, programs, and events to campus . One of the Office's most popular programs is its coordination of Black History Month activities, which usually include films, competitions, talent shows, panel discussions, and a step show .
This office has as its mission "to design and implement inclusive and accessible programs and services that enhance student development through exposure to and participation in diverse and relevant social, cultural, intellectual, recreational, community service, leadership development and campus governance." It supervises campus-wide celebrations like Founders' Day and Honors Convocation, which recognizes honors students publicly, special trips, like the 2007 Jena 6 rally in Louisiana and 2009 Presidential Inauguration, and the following regular organizations .
The mission of the Office of Student Conduct "is to create an effective living and learning environment by designing policies such as the Student Conduct Code, providing a disciplinary process and conducting programs that foster ethical development, personal accountability and civility toward others" . The Student Conduct Code establishes acceptable behavior at Prairie View A&M University . A Student Conduct Officer is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct, holding hearings, and implementing the discipline process, including sanctions, as needed. The office also provides outreach through workshops and presentations at orientation programs, and, upon request by professors, in-class presentations. Within this office, the Early Intervention and Education Program (EIEP) helps students address issues with anger management and conflict resolution, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and hazing . The Student Conduct Code is addressed in Comprehensive Standard 3.9.1 as well.
This Office provides student support services primarily through its administration of the University's Title III Programs. Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended and reauthorized in 1988, authorizes the Department of Education to give financial assistance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Funds can be used in activities to improve facilities, academic programs, finances, and endowments. Information on funded projects for the 2002-2007 and 2007-2012 funding cycles is available  , and three activities that directly support student development and learning are highlighted below.
According to the 2008 NSSE, approximately 70% of Prairie View A&M University freshmen and 75% of seniors participate in some form of co-curricular activity. Having a rich, varied offering of programs helps meet their needs.
Based on the results of the 2005 and 2008 NSSE administrations, Prairie View A&M University is improving the perception that students have of the importance of social support and participation in campus events. In 2005 just 50% of freshmen and 41% of seniors said that the University placed emphasis on "providing the support you need to thrive socially" either quite a bit or very much. Numbers rose to 60% of freshmen and 56% of seniors in 2008, and only 5% of freshmen and 7% of seniors believed that the University does very little in this area. Freshmen perception of the importance of attending campus activities has remained above 70%, but between 2005 and 2008, the percentage of seniors who believe that the University emphasizes these support services has gone from 56% to 72%. This suggests improvement in reaching and marketing campus events to returning students who no longer have the structure of University College guiding them  .