Mount Mary University has received a $3 million federal grant to provide more support for low-income students to help them complete college within four years.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow the university to build on its existing programs aimed at increasing first-year retention and increasing four-year graduation rates.The grant also includes provisions for technology upgrades and faculty development. A portion of the funding also goes to the university’s endowment.
Programs will provide low-income students with support in English and math, targeting an issue that can cause them to lose their confidence and take more than four years to graduate, the university said. Mount Mary's evidence-based strategies include re-conceiving developmental classes, providing coaching, career development and enhanced advising, said Karen Friedlen, vice president for academic and student affairs.
“We have seen increases in retention and persistence to graduation upwards of 20 percent or more, and with these funds we plan to improve even more, “ she said. “Because we already know what works, we can build upon these structures to help students in a more robust way.”
Mount Mary has been awarded $8.4 million in federal and national funds in recent years to help reduce barriers for students and expand inclusionary practices.
“The collective outcome of these grants positions our institution to lead not only Mount Mary, but Milwaukee in providing a holistic model for student success,” said Mount Mary president Christine Pharr. “We expect our diverse graduates, who largely stay in Milwaukee after graduation, to benefit and enrich the community as well.”
Mount Mary was recently named one of the three most diverse regional institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.