Student Success Goal of KCP Opportunities Grant
Alma College has received a six-year, $700,000 grant from the State of Michigan that will provide academic, social and financial support to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Authored by Sheryle Dixon, grants and government reports specialist, the King-Chavez-Parks Select Student Support Services Grant will establish an Opportunities and Connections (OAC) Program on campus.
OAC will build on the efforts of Alma College’s First Generation Connections Program, which was funded in May 2010 by a $100,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Walmart Foundation to reach first generation students, says Provost Michael Selmon.
Grant will support student academic and social opportunities.
“Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds often need more support in terms of understanding what opportunities exist for them in college,” he says. “We want them to be able to anticipate the choices they will face in college and overcome the challenges. This grant will help provide them with the support that they need to be successful.”
In addition to providing funding to assist students in identifying off-campus opportunities for scholarships, work-study support and paid internships, the King-Chavez-Parks Grant will assist in the development of a financial literacy workshop.
Through its OAC Program, the grant also promotes mentorship, linking economically disadvantaged students to faculty, staff and returning students from similar backgrounds. The initiative will enhance Alma’s existing framework for supporting student success through connections, says Selmon.
“Mentoring has a significant impact on students,” he says. “We recognize that students may sometimes feel more comfortable asking their advisor questions rather than a peer. At other times, hearing from a fellow student provides a richer message.”
Two new director positions will be created as a result of the OAC Program: one position will focus on academic and social opportunities while the other position’s focus will be on financial opportunities. Both will administer these new initiatives and work to improve student retention.
In addition, the King-Chavez-Parks Grant hopes to recruit 75 freshman participants, or roughly half of Alma’s incoming Pell Grant eligible students, and 35 sophomores. Selmon says he wants these students to know that Alma is a place for them, even if they’re from an economically disadvantaged background.
“Higher education is an immensely important opportunity on which students shouldn’t close the door,” he says. “Alma is a place where they can succeed.”
Posted: Fri, October 14th, 2011 at 10:55AM