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Gifts from the Amon G. Carter Foundation and the Lupe Murchison Foundation help fund new UNT micro-grant program.
Micro-grants help at-risk students engage with the university and persist to graduation.
The University of North Texas is incentivizing student success through innovative new micro-grants, made possible thanks to contributions from the Amon G. Carter Foundation and the Lupe Murchison Foundation.
The micro-grant program, a partnership with the RaiseMe corporation, allows eligible first-year students to unlock grant money through achievements, focusing on the kinds of behaviors that promote academic success, career development and overall wellness.
The goal is to model and promote best practice steps for at-risk students to help them persist to graduation.
“Studies have shown that the more students are engaged in academic and social activities, the greater chance they will be retained and feel positive about their collegiate experience,” says Debbie Rohwer, UNT’s vice president for planning and chief of staff. “With their gifts, the Amon G. Carter Foundation and the Lupe Murchison Foundation have made outstanding investments in our students’ futures.”
In selecting participants, the university uses predictive analytics to find students who are least likely to be retained due to academic and financial variables. Then, throughout the year, participants complete engagement activities and log their progress with RaiseMe. Activities are incentivized with grant dollars, which will be applied to the following school year’s tuition.
“We recognize many first-generation students face a myriad of challenges and are pleased to participate in this financial incentive-based initiative to create opportunities for more educational success,” says John H. Robinson, executive vice president of the Amon G. Carter Foundation. “We commend UNT President Smatresk’s vision to pilot a program focused on improving first-generation college student achievement from the time they are first enrolled until being placed in a career.”
Early in the semester, the RaiseMe initiative has students focus on exposure tasks, such as creating study spaces, going to the Learning Center, Writing Center, Math Lab and Pohl Recreation Center, and taking selfies with Scrappy. After students have completed basic tasks, they will work on more deep engagement tasks, including participating in academic coaching and mentoring, attending personal finance sessions and creating payment plans.
“Over the last 15 years, we have supported UNT initiatives across campus. These micro-grants are going to help students connect with their university and further their success in the classroom and beyond,’” says Jerry V. Smith, co-trustee of the Lupe Murchison Foundation. “We’re proud to be encouraging and supporting UNT students during their journey.”
Through the partnership with RaiseMe, UNT is expanding access to higher education and celebrating the wind-ranging set of achievements that are an important part of the college experience.
“With these grants, the Amon G. Carter Foundation and the Lupe Murchision Foundation are doing more than decreasing student debt,” says David Wolf, UNT’s vice president for advancement. “They’re directing students down the right path and helping them earn their own long-term success.”