$300,000 in grants 'game-changer' for college students

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has announced a total of $300,000 in grants to six campuses for two programs to help more students succeed in college.


After a competitive review process, the Council awarded $50,000 Stronger by Degrees Student Success grants to five campuses to improve student progression and completion, with a special emphasis on low-income and underrepresented minority students.  The recipients are Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Maysville Community and Technical College, and Owensboro Community and Technical College.


For the Project Graduate returning adult program, the Council awarded a total of $50,000 in strategic funds to two campuses.  Through a separate review process, the Council awarded $25,000 each to the University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University to boost completion of former students with 80 or more credit hours.  NKU received awards in both grant programs.


“We are delighted to fund these high-impact proposals,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “In times of scarce resources, targeting funds to support strategic programs can be a real game-changer for our students.”


The Council issued a call for proposals last month for the one-year, competitive grant programs. Both programs align to President Aaron Thompson’s five key priorities and the performance funding model approved by the General Assembly.


Thompson’s five priorities are: Positioning higher education as the key to social mobility and economic development; improving college access and affordability for high school graduates and adults; ensuring all students succeed at the same rate, regardless of age, race or income; responding to Kentucky’s current business needs while laying the groundwork for the future; and enhancing academic quality through strategies that improve teaching and learning.


According to the CPE:


--EKU’s grant will create opportunities for targeted interventions by embedding trained undergraduate “gurus” in high enrollment, freshman heavy courses, as well as using the gurus to facilitate study groups and deliver intensive tutoring and mentoring with at-risk populations.


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NKU’s two-pronged strategy includes development of a one-stop student support center that houses peer coaches/mentors to provide peer-to-peer consultation and the development of a series of first-year parent/family experience seminars to help families guide their students’ progress through college.  They will also address financial barriers for 100 students through waiving orientation fees and offering book stipends, and address completion barriers of 100 students through free credit-by-exams.


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BCTCS’s proposal addresses inequities that impede minority students from accessing dual credit opportunities by expanding professional development for faculty and staff to improve advising and academic engagement.


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MCTC’s grant will educate campus employees about the impact that poverty has on students’ ability to be academically successful; identify at-risk students and appropriate intervention strategies; and coordinate services to remove life-barriers that could hinder academic success.


--OCTC will, t
hrough the work of a dedicated success coach, extend intensive advising services, focused supports and access to experiential learning opportunities to students pursuing either an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees.


--UK will build off a successful pilot with the College of Arts and Sciences to identify former students that qualify for the new Bachelor of Liberal Studies program and expand the model to other colleges, as well as developing a scholarship program.


Campuses are required to provide both a mid-term and final report to CPE.

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