San Antonio schools receive at-risk student grants

UIW, St. Mary's, San Antonio College on grant list

SAN ANTONIO – Four San Antonio colleges and universities have been awarded federal grant money to help increase the graduation rate of first-generation, low-income and disabled students.

The TRIO Student Support Services Program gives federal money to post-secondary schools to provide academic tutoring and other support services to these at-risk groups of students. The goal is to help retention and graduation rates.

In July, Rep. Joaquin Castro's office announced the U.S. Department of Education would award $220,000 to the University of Texas at San Antonio, $219,984 to San Antonio College, and $235,059 to the University of the Incarnate Word through the TRIO SSS Program. Castro's office announced Monday that San Antonio College would receive another $219,984 grant for a second program, and St. Mary's University would also receive a $219,999 grant.

Those are annual grants over a five-year cycle.

St. Mary's Vice-President of Retention Management Rosalind Alderman, said the school's program won't just be helping with academics.

"We'll also provide workshops on time management, on financial literacy, on understanding what we call now 'mindset and grit' and how do you get past those tough times in college," Alderman said.

This is St. Mary's first time for its program, which will serve 140 students.

"Right now I think our goal is 65-70 percent of them would graduate with a college degree within six years," Alderman said. "And if you look at the national statistics, that would be well, well above average."

Meanwhile, UIW's program, which serves 200 students, is getting its fourth cycle of funding.

If the school didn't have that money, David Jurenovich, the vice-president of Enrollment Management and Student Services, said, "there would be a hole, and there's a vacuum. Clearly the fact that there's a waiting list for this program demonstrates the need."

For the next five years, though, UIW and the other three schools won't have to worry about that.

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