Kresge Foundation invests in student success at Wayne State University

Wayne State University students will now have more help on their road to success, thanks to a $275,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation.

The Kresge award will help fund micro-grants of up to $1,500 to students experiencing financial hardships. It also will establish new technology for Wayne State University to cooperate more fully with partner colleges in regards to transfer students.

"It is unfortunate that many students' path to graduation have been delayed for sums as small as $1,500," said Provost Keith Whitfield. "These funds from the Kresge Foundation will have a big impact on many students' success."

Undergraduate students who have exhausted their federal grants and loans can qualify to receive up to $1,500 in micro-grants. These grants are designed to be low-cost solutions for students who may have no other way of paying for an unexpected expense. Beginning later this semester, students in need of assistance will apply through the Office of Student Financial Aid, which will then make a determination based on students' level of need.

"Financial need is one of the biggest impediments to graduation. This program will add to the deep commitment we have to making college affordable and a degree attainable," said Provost Whitfield.

Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment, said that for some students, a financial emergency could mean the difference between staying enrolled and dropping out.

"These grants will be for us to make sure that the student can continue to go to classes and continue on their path to gradation," said Medley.

In addition, the Kresge award will help fund new technology to allow Wayne State and Macomb Community College to merge academic and financial aid information on students enrolled in the Wayne Advantage - Macomb program. The system will give both institutions real-time information, including grades, enrollment status and financial aid.

This will result in more accurate advising and more informed financial aid decisions, according to Medley. "It allows us to make the process smoother and more seamless for students when it comes to transfer and financial aid," she said.

"Student interest and enrollment in the Wayne Advantage - Macomb program continues to grow since many students don't want or need to wait to start their courses at the university," said Ahmad Ezzeddine, associate vice president for Educational Outreach and International Programs. "This funding will allow us to scale the program and help more students earn both their associate and bachelor degrees in a timely manner."

The Kresge award is part of the university-wide Undergraduate Student Success Initiative, which commits Wayne State to a strategy of inclusive excellence. The initiative defines key actions in six areas needed to significantly boost student achievement, retention and graduation. Those include providing meaningful access to college, fostering a strong foundation for graduation in the first year, investing in degree attainment, supporting transfer student success, broadening opportunities for students who are economically disadvantaged and underserved, and using data to inform decision-making.

Kresge's Education team works to expand access to higher education for low-income, minority students across the United States with a special focus in four states, including Michigan. This grant falls within its focus area on strengthening urban higher education ecosystems, to help cities work in a more coordinated way to support students both on and off campus.

"The micro grant program and data exchange interface will allow Wayne State to serve individual students with specific advising, transfer and financial needs in a much more targeted and scalable way," said Caroline Altman Smith, Kresge's deputy director of their Education Program. "We're proud to partner on those efforts and to see Wayne State deepen its commitment to student success."

(December 4, 2017)

Back to listing