New England College to Receive $2.23 Million Federal Grant to Boost Retention Rates
NEC to Use Title III Funds to Build Student Success Center.
New England College has been notified by Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office that the College has been selected to receive a five-year, $2.23 million-dollar federal Title lll Department of Education grant aimed at raising college retention rates among low-income students. The funds will be used to improve the supports for first-year students at the College, including new services, improved orientation, and new teaching approaches designed to increase academic successes for new students. The basic idea is to help students build momentum as early as possible that will carry them through an entire four-year college experience.
“Student retention is a priority and a challenge for every college and this grant will provide the funds to help New England College make the type of investment in resources for new students that will make a real difference in their life’s path,” explains Dr. Michele Perkins, President of New England College. “I am grateful to Senator Shaheen and her office for being a champion of New England College and assisting us in this grant process.”
The federal grant will focus on three main areas of activity for New England College:
Cohesive first-year experience: This program will streamline and clarify what can be a disjointed first-year “onboarding” transition for all new students. Faculty and staff will work to create what is called a “Purpose-Driven Orientation,” which offers resources for students. The central component of this plan is the addition of Student Success Coaches to design and implement a plan for each student to assure success in the first year and beyond.
Active Learning Strategies: New England College faculty and staff will redesign essential courses, with particular focus on improving so-called “core classes” that are required or encouraged for all students. The new goals of these core classes will include active learning techniques, increased use of technology, and better connections to graduate programs and/or career preparation.
Center for Student Success: To better connect what can be fragmented student support, New England College will revamp its student support programs. This new, technology-driven approach will include graduation mapping, an early academic alert system, student coaches, and new career and life planning resources. The goal is to connect programs and assistance to each first-year student’s academic goals.
“The transition to college can be exciting, but also overwhelming, and all of us in higher education understand that the current approach has gaps that results in some students leaving school or failing to get off to a successful start; this grant will help us close those gaps and retain more of our first-year students,” says Dr. Wayne Lesperance, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We are excited to reinvest in the programs that will help our incoming first-year students enjoy a smooth transition and greater early success on campus. This is an exciting opportunity for our school.”
According to the grant announcement from the U.S. Department of Education, “the program is designed to expand a school’s capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.”