New Grant to Boost College Completion Rates

State Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer) urges area two and four-year colleges, universities and technical schools to apply for a new grant program designed to help increase graduation rates for at-risk students. The College Success grant provides schools up to $300,000 in grants to implement programs to help students stay in college and earn a degree.

More students from traditionally underserved backgrounds are entering college than ever before, but many of these students face unique obstacles that prevent them from completing their studies. As a result, college completion rates have not increased at the same rate as college enrollment. “The goal of the College Success grant is to help students who enroll in college, stay in college until they graduate,” Sen. Stumpf said. “These grants help students from low income backgrounds, and those who are first in the family to attend college receive the additional support they need to stay in college and complete their studies.”

Successful schools must meet the following criteria: Serve undergraduate students from traditionally underserved backgrounds (students of color, those from low-income backgrounds, and/or first generation students); provide ongoing services designed to increase the retention and persistence rates for a defined group of students; track semester-to-semester enrollment (retention rates) and year-to-year enrollment (persistence rates).

Nationwide, only 10 percent of students from low-income families earn a bachelors degree by age 24; for students from upper-income families, that number is 71 percent. For students who develop connections to their peers, faculty, and staff, college completion is much more likely.

Sen. Stumpf encourages interested higher education institutes to apply for the grants at: mygreatlakes.org/community. The application deadline is March 14, 2013.

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Senator LeRoy Stumpf
LeRoy Stumpf represents District 1, which includes all or portions of Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties in the northwestern part of the state. He is the chair of the Capital Investment Committee.

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