Finish First NC at Wake Tech


Finish First NC (FFNC) is a data tool developed and originally used by Wake Technical Community College to identify students within one semester of completing a degree, diploma or certificate, and to identify students who have already fulfilled requirements for credentials but were not aware of them. In a single academic year, Finish First NC helped Wake Tech identify more than 31,500 credentials of students close to completion and more than 6,500 credentials eligible to be awarded to students. From the Spring 2017 through the Spring 2020 Semester, FFNC helped Wake Tech identify and award more than 11,000 certificates alone to students.

Advanced Applications of Finish First NC

In addition to the standard uses of FFNC—helping Wake Tech personnel award earned credentials and providing targeted information about students close to completion—Wake Tech uses Finish First NC for the following purposes:

FFNC Academic Rumble Strips

Finish First NC helps Wake Tech identify if classes that students register for are outside of their programs of study. This can help with proactive advising, saving students time and money. At Wake Tech, FFNC Academic Rumble Strips helps ensure that CCP students take courses that are within their program pathways.

Special Projects

FFNC uses the power of processing to assist Wake Tech with a number of special projects. FFNC helps calculate the number of programs that are fully online, and programs that are hosted on each Wake Tech campus. Wake Tech also uses FFNC output lists of near completers to identify students who qualify for completion scholarships.

Stop-Out Student Outreach Campaign

In the fall of 2020, Wake Tech participated in a joint effort with the UNC System and the company InsideTrack to reach out to the students identified as “stop-outs” by the Finish First NC data tool and encourage them to re-enroll. Stop-out students were considered those who began a curriculum program at Wake Tech, but left for one, two, or three semesters without completing the program and were not studying at any other institution. To further incentivize students to finish their credentials, Wake Tech offered scholarship funding to cover a portion of the costs of returning to complete. 

Using the targeted data from FFNC, InsideTrack reached out to 1,288 students who were last enrolled in the Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 semesters, but were not active in the Fall 2020 semester. Of those students, 558 were within 15 credit hours of completing degrees/diplomas, and the rest of them had between 16 credit hours and 50% of their degrees/diplomas remaining to complete. As a result of this effort, 201 students (15% of the stop-out students) registered for the 2021 spring semester. This increase in re-enrollment was five percentage points higher than re-enrollment increases from Wake Tech’s regular stop-out campaign activities.

View the InsideTrack Case Study to Learn More


Wake Tech personnel with questions about Finish First NC can contact Laila Shahid-El, Project Director of Finish First NC, at [email protected] or 919-532-5831, or Dr. Kai Wang, Senior Dean of Strategic Innovations, at [email protected] or 919-532-5664.