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Grambling student set to graduate after losing scholarship, overcoming academic probation

By Ian Robinson
On September 12, 2019

Deonta Rigsby. Courtesy photo

A study, published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics in April of 2010, showed that college students who rebound from academic probation do improve their grades, as well as higher their chances of graduating. 

This was the case for Deonta Rigsby. 

Rigsby, a native of Jasper, Texas, enrolled at Grambling State University in the fall of 2014 as an incoming freshman on a band scholarship, after graduating from Jasper High School. 

Rigsby played the baritone horn in the Tiger Marching Band. 

After three years of successfully balancing his coursework and extracurricular activities, Rigsby found himself becoming overwhelmed. 

“I started to balance too many things at one time, like the band, which was taking up most of my time, as well as trying to be a part of other organizations, the NAACP and the Favrot Student Union, all the while trying to maintain a social life,” Rigsby said. 

Rigsby’s grade point average fell below a 2.0 to a 1.8 during the fall semester of his junior year and he had to write an appeal letter in order to be placed on academic probation or risk being placed on academic suspension. 

A student is placed on academic probation whenever he or she’s cumulative grade point average falls below a 2.0 average. Once a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher is achieved, a student will be placed back on academic good standing. 

Due to his grade point average dropping and being placed on academic probation, Rigsby lost his band scholarship.

Quite a few students find themselves on academic probation for a number of reasons, such as having an overwhelmingly amount of coursework, a death in the family, or other mitigating circumstances that may affect one’s academic performance. 

In order to remain enrolled at Grambling and get back on good academic standing, Rigsby knew that he had to make a change and concentrate on his studies. 

“I got my focus together and let go of some things that were hindering me and I set goals for myself,” Rigsby said. 

Those goals include never settling for less, going to class and absorbing the material, keeping in constant communication with your instructors, tracking one’s own grades and continuing to remind yourself of your goals.

The following semester, in the spring of 2018, Rigsby worked tirelessly to raise his grade point average to a 2.1, getting back within academic good standing. 

Despite the setbacks, Rigsby says that he learned a lesson.

“The lesson I would say that I learned is to be more attentive to my schoolwork and stick to the goals that I set for myself. I, also, have to prioritize and balance my extracurricular activities,” Rigsby said. 

He also credits God for getting back into good academic standing. 

“If it wasn’t for God’s mercy and grace, I don’t think that I would’ve made it out of academic probation,” Rigsby said. 

Rigsby, now a senior, is set to graduate in fall of 2019, with an undergraduate degree in mass communication.

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