The United States Department of Education has awarded Northeastern Illinois University a five-year, $2.625 million Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant that will help the University implement a comprehensive system of support to increase retention of first-time, full-time students into their third year of enrollment.
“While Northeastern Illinois University has made great strides in recent years addressing the needs of our students to succeed and progress toward their degrees, our capacity is limited,” Provost Richard J. Helldobler said. “This generous grant from the U.S. Department of Education represents a life-changing boost for our current and future students, and ultimately for the communities we serve.”
Northeastern was the only institution in Illinois awarded one of the 23 individual development grants. The first budget period for the grant begins in October 2016.
Northeastern has identified six priorities for the use of the grant funds:
- Make the three-credit First-Year Experience course mandatory for all new students in their first semester.
- Through advising services, assist all first-year students in development of a personal degree map and use of online tools to chart their educational progress. Also promote the choice of a major or a meta-major using online degree maps.
- Continue advising for second-year students who have not selected a major.
- Continue the EMERGE summer bridge program with one core course and credit for high-needs students.
- Offer stretch courses with credits in Mathematics and English during the first year as an alternative to non-credit developmental courses. The courses will combine developmental and college-level content into one course that is tough over two semesters, bringing students up to college-level work without them having to take developmental courses that do not count toward graduation or increase time to degree.
- Increase referrals to the Learning Support Center through an early alert system and adviser referrals.
- Boost assistance programs to ensure that enrolled students complete registration for the coming semester and financial aid applications for the coming year.
“I am so proud of the many faculty and staff members who lent their expertise to the development of this grant proposal that has now been recognized by the Department of Education through this award,” Helldobler said. “It is a testament to the excellence that Northeastern has to offer.”
Northeastern is regarded as one of the most diverse public comprehensive universities in the nation and is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The University has an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students and offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, education and business.