Union College awarded nearly $1.5 million for student support services

Published on
July 20, 2015

Union College awarded nearly $1.5 million for student support servicesUnion College has been awarded nearly $1.5 million from the Department of Education to provide academic services to its student body.  

The grant program provides funds to postsecondary education institutions for the implementation of programs to support academic development, to assist students with basic college requirements and to motivate students toward successful completion of their education. The goal of the program is to increase college retention and graduation rates of its participants. Union applied for the grant late last year. 

At Union, the grant award will directly impact student support services for 175 first-generation, low-income students as well as individuals with disabilities, said Stephanie Smith, Associate Dean of Student Success. However, Smith said more than 70 percent of Union’s students are eligible for the various programs that fall under the student support services umbrella.

“I am very excited to receive the grant this year and look forward to establishing new and innovative retention programs for our students,” Smith said. 

Smith and her staff work to develop and provide student support services to students on the Union campus. This is not the first time Union has received grant funds to provide support programs to its students.

Smith said the grant funding would provide eligible students at Union with comprehensive need-based assessments; proactive academic and career coaching; a structured first-year experience program; supplemental instruction; peer mentoring and cultural enrichment opportunities. With Union’s facilities and institutional support, she said, the resources are available for achieving the project objectives detailed in the grant including persistence, good academic standing and graduation.

“Student Support Services has been a vital asset to Union College for years,” Smith added. “We have aided many students in achieving their dream of a college degree.”

Dr. David Johns, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, said the student support programs at Union are innovative and will make a big difference in the academic success of students. 

"Our country has established an ambitious goal of increasing the number of college graduates by 2020, five years from now," Dr. Johns said. "This grant will help us contribute to an important national agenda while impacting the lives of Union students."

Union was awarded grant funds in the amount of $292,340 for the 2015-16 academic year. It is anticipated the grant will be utilized over the course of five years and reauthorized each year at the same funding level for a total anticipated award of $1.461 million. Union was one of 21 new institutional awards in the state of Kentucky.