February 07, 2012/The Saginaw News
By Lindsay Knake
KOCHVILLE TWP. — A team of staff members will work to help hundreds of students remain and be successful at Saginaw Valley State University.
The Michigan Department of Career Development’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative gave SVSU a six-year, $684,000 Select Student Support Services grant to improve the retention of academically and economically disadvantaged students. SVSU is matching the grant with 30 percent funding, or $48,879 annually.
The grant, awarded in November, will provide support to 145 freshmen students and continue to help the students through their academic careers.
"Our goal is to make sure students are successful," said Cliff Dorne, associate vice president of enrollment management.
SVSU created a committee to oversee the program, Dorne said at Monday's Board of Control meeting.
Staff members will identify high-risk freshman students through ACT scores of 16 to 20, Pell Grant eligibility and whether they are the first in their family to attend college. The students will work with peer mentors and academic and co-curricular services. If students need tutoring, the program will encourage them to seek it out, Dorne said. Getting involved with the university beyond classes is another way students stay at the university, he said.
In order to maintain funding, SVSU must graduate 40 percent of the 145 students, Dorne said, but they aim for a higher graduation rate.
Throughout the six years, SVSU staff will collect data about students to learn how to provide the best education for at-risk students and use it to institutionalize programs.
Each six months, Dorne said, the committee will provide a formal report.