UW-Stevens Point receives $1.8 million grant to enhance student success

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has been awarded a $1.8 million federal grant to enhance academic services to help more students succeed.

The Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education will fund the program Strengthening Academic Success: More Graduates for Wisconsin. The five-year grant begins Oct. 1. It will improve student success through coordinated, high-impact academic support services. Five new positions will be funded, aimed at helping at-risk students stay in school and complete degrees. 

The Title III grant will include enhanced tutoring, intensive academic advising and targeted career counseling. In addition, a new “conditional admit” retention program will be launched. The grant will also fund 32 peer tutoring leaders and peer advising mentors, student positions. These services will be packaged for at-risk students and available to all UW-Stevens Point students. 

Risk factors that are obstacles to success for some students include being low income, first generation attending college, testing into remedial math, having ACT scores below 20, not having declared a major or being on academic probation. 

Three-fourths of UW-Stevens Point students receive some form of financial aid, and 34 percent are eligible for Pell grants. Among incoming students, 47 percent are the first generation in college. 

UW-Stevens Point retains about 82 percent of students from their first year of college to their second year. While this retention rate exceeds state and national averages, we want to do better,   said Chancellor Bernie Patterson. “The stretch goal I have set is to improve this to 87 percent.” 

The grant goal is to increase retention of first-to-second-year students by 0.5 percentage point each of the five grant years. Another goal is to improve four-year graduation rate 3 percentage points by year five of the program.  

A recent strategic planning process identified the need for strong, well-coordinated, seamless academic support services, noted Kathy Davis, executive director of academic success. She will oversee the grant program. 

As traditional funding sources have eroded, university staff has explored other sources to meet student needs. Title III is one aspect of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The grant is part of a Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP), which helps higher education programs expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen an institution’s academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability.

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Admissions; Chancellor