UArizona Receives $4M in Federal Grants to Support Underrepresented Students

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The University of Arizona has received nearly $4 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education for student support services, particularly for first-generation students, students from low-income households and students with disabilities.

The three grants, each worth $1.3 million, will go toward three campus initiatives: the College of Education's efforts to prepare students to become teachers; the Thrive Center's mission to support student success; and Arizona's Science, Engineering and Math Scholars Program, which provides support to students in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

The funding will be distributed over the next five years and will support more than 400 students each year.

"These three grants illustrate the University of Arizona's commitment to ensuring each of our students has the resources they need to succeed during their time here and after they graduate," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "I am proud of the work these university programs have already done, and I look forward to seeing how they will reach even more students thanks to these grants from the Department of Education."

The grants come from the U.S. Department of Education's TRIO Programs, which have served first-generation students, students from low-income households and students with disabilities for more than 50 years. The TRIO Programs include the Student Support Services Program, which is funding these grants and helps students meet basic college requirements so they can complete their degrees.

The University of Arizona has regularly received TRIO funding for about 50 years. This is the first time that the university has received more than one TRIO Student Support Services grant in a single year.

About the grants

The College of Education grant will allow the college to support 140 students over five years who are interested in teaching-related career paths. The funding will provide staffing, tutoring, mentoring, training, workshops, materials and other learning experiences. Marcy Wood, professor and head of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies, is the grant's principal investigator, along with co-principal investigator Sara Knepper, the college's director of academic advising.

The Thrive Center, a unit of Student Success and Retention Innovation, provides support to students during their time at the university. The center provides support in particular to first-generation college students, students from low-income households and students who have been historically underrepresented on college campuses. The center's new TRIO grant will allow the center to provide these services to about 140 additional students each year for the next five years. The center's 11 programs and initiatives served nearly 3,200 students during the 2019-2020 school year. The grant's principal investigator is Michelle McKelvey, the Thrive Center director.

Arizona's Science, Engineering and Math Scholars Program provides support to students across the university who are majoring in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. The program is a partnership between two university units: Research, Innovation & Impact and Student Success and Retention Innovation. This year's TRIO grant is a renewal of ASEMS' current TRIO ASEMS program. That program supports 124 undergraduate students studying STEM majors who are first-generation college students, students who come from low-income households or student who have a disability. Among the services offered to students are academic mentoring, career advising, workshops and opportunities to participate in research. The grant's principal investigator is Fatemma Soto-Herrera, director of the TRIO ASEMS program.

The new grants will bring the university's number of TRIO grants to five. The two previous grants support Upward Bound, a College of Education program that prepares high school students for college, and the Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program, a Graduate College program that supports underrepresented students as they pursue doctoral degrees.

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