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Two UW-Eau Claire programs receive Great Lakes grants

August 21, 2013

CollegeSuccessLogo-webEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been awarded two College Success grants from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp. (Great Lakes).

Blugold Beginnings, a program designed to give area youth access to higher education and support successful completion of a degree, received $157,609 to expand the Blugold Beginnings Learning Community program. The College Achievement Program (CAP), an academic support program to help multicultural students whose first language is not English develop the academic and language skills to be successful in college, received $67,184.

Services and experiences provided by the Blugold Beginnings Learning Community program include:

  • The opportunity to attend the Jumpstart Camp where new students move into the residence halls early and have the advantage of learning about how the campus works and the resources available to them, as well as develop relationships with other learning community students before classes begin.

  • A connection with a faculty mentor, who students meet with throughout the year as a resource, support system and adult mentor to support their freshmen experience.

  • A connection to a student mentor who is an upperclassman and former learning community student to serve as another resource, support system and peer-mentor to support their freshmen experience.

  • Guaranteed employment with the Blugold Beginnings precollege mentoring program, serving as positive role models and tutors for area underrepresented students in grades 5-12.

Learning community students also are provided constant support from the program coordinator who provides helpful workshops and activities to further advance students' skills and knowledge of opportunities while attending college.

"This grant is so important because it allows the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Beginnings program to serve an additional 45 underrepresented students with unique services to ensure their successful transition from high school to the new and independent world of college," said Lissa Martinez Greer, Blugold Beginnings program director. "We will be able to expand the learning community from 25 students this academic year to 70 students."

The Great Lakes grant awarded to CAP will be used to support staffing for the program; tutoring for the students in any course they take and supplemental instruction in two of their CAP courses; a field trip to a regional religious site as an extension of their introduction to the "Religions of the World" course; and admission to several campus events.

The program has 13 incoming freshmen and will introduce a sophomore component for the first time this year, which will include about 15 sophomores who were a part of the program during their freshmen year. With the assistance of the Great Lakes grant, the sophomore program will include an opportunity for the students to gain leadership experience by mentoring freshmen CAP students, participate in college coaching sessions with the CAP coordinator and academic adviser, and attend Sophomore Success Seminars on a variety of topics ranging from developing leadership skills to improving their financial literacy.

"The Great Lakes College Success grant will help the CAP students begin their career at UW-Eau Claire with a strong start, easing their transition from high school to college, building connections with the university community and supporting their academic goals," said Jasmine Case, CAP coordinator and English as a second language and foreign language tutoring coordinator. "With the help of this grant, the College Achievement Program will give students the support they need to continue on their path to graduation."

"The programs being funded by this round of College Success grants are providing services proven to help students make progress toward their degree," said Richard D. George, Great Lakes president and CEO. "Each program has been thoughtfully designed to address the challenges known to keep students from graduating, helping them to develop connections to their campus, peers, faculty and staff, and overcome financial obstacles. We look forward to seeing the impact of each of these programs in helping their students persist toward graduation."

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