Great Lakes' grants support student success

Published: October 23, 2014

Funds help students stay on track to graduation, and create new paid internships

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside recently received a $149,717 "Career Ready Internship" grant, a $134,236 "College Success" grant, and a $64,890 "College Success Continuation" grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. All three awards are for the 2014-2015 academic year.

"Moving students toward greater opportunity in life benefits us all," said Richard D. George, Great Lakes' president and chief executive officer. "We fund programs that understand the root cause of what holds students back, and take bold steps to overcome these obstacles. We look forward to seeing the impact UW-Parkside can have on helping more students graduate and achieve their full potential."

Career Ready Internship
Internships provide college students with valuable workplace skills and networking opportunities that often lead to job offers after graduation. But not all internships are paid, and many students can't afford to work for free.

As a Great Lakes grant recipient, UW-Parkside is building lasting partnerships with local businesses and nonprofits to develop new paid internships for students who receive financial aid.

"Our 'Career Ready Internship' grant provides college students real-world experience in their fields of study, and a better chance at competing for jobs after graduation," George said. "This program has the added benefit of developing relationships of lasting value between UW-Parkside and employers, helping more students graduate ready for success in the workforce."

"Career Ready Internship" grants, totaling $5.2 million, were awarded to 40 colleges and universities across Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio for the 2014-2015 academic year. These new grants expand on a successful pilot at 19 Wisconsin colleges during 2013-2014, in which 98 percent of interns either re-enrolled the next semester or graduated. This year, a total of 2,235 students receiving financial aid who might not otherwise consider – and profit from – an internship will gain professional experience and progress toward graduation.

College Success
Far too many freshmen start their college careers on the wrong foot – earning low grades, dropping classes, continually repeating classes, or worse. Research shows that students who are placed on academic probation during their freshman year are up to 82-percent less likely to graduate in five years than those who are not. This is especially true for students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and students who are first in their families to attend college.

Identifying at-risk students early and connecting them with existing support services can have a life-changing effect, helping them stay in school and complete their certificates or degrees. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside will, through its Advising and Career Center and Student Support Services, support early alert interventions and proactive support services designed to enhance the academic success of first-year students needing supplemental academic instruction. Instructors, advisors, and peer leaders will collaborate to create a community of support by coaching, mentoring, and guiding students through their transition to UW-Parkside. Students will be encouraged to engage with various campus resources to enhance their academic achievements.

Great Lakes "College Success" grants, totaling $2.7 million, were awarded to 19 two- and four-year colleges, universities, and community and technical colleges across Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio. A total of 5,280 students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and students who are first in their families to attend college will benefit from support services during the 2014-2015 academic year.

College Success Continuation

Christopher Zanowski, director of Student Support Services at Parkside, said the "College Success Continuation" grant helps TRIO Project Success increase semester-to-semester and year-to-year retention rates. "The grant enables our program to continue to offer stronger, more substantial supportive learning communities," Zanowski said.

According to Gwen Jones, director of the UW-Parkside Advising and Career Center, the "College Success," "College Success Continuation," and "Career Ready Internship" grants make a real difference in students' lives. "Last year, Student Support Services received a smaller grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and we saw the positive impact of those resources," Jones said. "We very much appreciate the show of confidence that this year's grants represent. We're excited to put more positive plans into action and we're excited for the students whose lives will take a much different direction."

Great Lakes "College Success" continuation grants, totaling $2.7 million, were awarded to two-year, four-year, and technical colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. A total of 3,835 undergraduate students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and students who are first in their family to attend college will benefit from support services during the 2014-2015 academic year achieve its goal of helping more students benefit from their investment in higher education, and graduate ready to reach their full potential.

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