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Berea receives $100K award for programs for 1st generation students

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Walmart Foundation have selected Berea College for a $100,000 College Success Award.

The grant is to be used over a two–year period for the creation of a pilot program to increase the success of first-generation students. Berea was one of 30 CIC members selected to receive the grants.

The 30 selected schools, along with 20 CIC member schools that received awards in 2008, will work together as a network to assist first-generation college students, learn from one another, and serve as models for other colleges and universities. According to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the six-year graduation rate of first-generation students at private colleges and universities is 61 percent, compared with only 44 percent at public four-year institutions.

Berea will use the grant toward programs available to all first-generation students, but specifically targeting students from “distressed” counties as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The major programming component will be a student peer-mentoring program integrating academic, labor and residential aspects of the college experience of Berea students. A faculty/staff program focused on providing supportive relationships to Berea’s many first-generation students is also a part of this grant. The programs are based on research that shows that first-year first-generation students who develop supportive peer and faculty/staff relationships are more likely to persist in their studies and graduate.

For more about the Walmart College Success Awards and the programs of Berea College and the other recipients, visit the CIC website.

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