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United Tribes selected for Minority Student Success Award
26 March 2010

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College has been selected by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) to receive a Walmart Minority Student Success Award to help build on its demonstrated success in enrolling, retaining, and graduating first-generation college students.

Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation says it funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international Foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

      The $100,000 gift is made possible by a $4.2 million grant to IHEP from the Walmart Foundation.

      United Tribes was one of only 30 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) selected through a highly competitive application process to strengthen efforts to support first-generation students.

      MSIs are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.

      UTTC representatives will attend the annual IHEP Summer Academy. IHEP is an independent, nonprofit based in Washington DC that works to increase access and success in postsecondary education around the world. During the academy, MSI representatives will establish action plans to increase capacity, share ideas to better serve first-generation college students and develop partnerships with other colleges and universities.

      “This is a wonderful award for the college. It’s an honor,” said David M. Gipp, United Tribes president. “We’re fortunate to have been selected and we’ll make good use of the award for the benefit of our students!”

      Grant funds will be used at United Tribes to initiate a “College STEPS” program (Creating Supportive and Timely Enrollment Pathways). It will be a year-round, faculty led initiative to enhance the success of first generation college students who are required to complete preparatory coursework. The goals will be to increase completion rates through the use of new scheduling approaches, and to increase student retention by concentrating on designated faculty advising during their first term.

      “The institutions in our 2010 Minority Student Success cohort broaden and deepen the pool of MSIs committed to ensuring the success of first-generation students both at their campuses and beyond,” said Michelle Asha Cooper, IHEP president. “We are pleased to be working with them on programs that are sure to serve as models to all of higher education.”

      “At Walmart, we understand that education is critical to the lives and well-being of all Americans. We’re proud to support giving that enables the success of first-generation college students,” said Margaret McKenna, Walmart Foundation president.

      The Walmart Foundation grants support the existing work of MSIs to strengthen first-generation student success programs, with a special focus on classroom practices and the role faculty play in their students’ academic success.

      Approximately 41 percent of students enrolled at MSIs are first-generation, compared to 30 percent at predominantly white institutions. The over-representation of first-generation students at MSIs makes them ideal to help improve retention and persistence gaps for this student population.

      Joining United Tribes as 2010 award recipients are: Adams State College (CO), Bloomfield College (NJ), Bowie State University (MD), Coppin State University (MD), Delaware State University (DE), El Camino College (CA), Fort Belknap College (MT), Hampton University (VA), Leech Lake Tribal College (MN), New Jersey City University (NJ), University of Houston- Downtown (TX), University of New Mexico (NM), Valencia Community College (FL), and Winston-Salem State University (NC).

      For more information about the initiative and grantees, visit the IHEP Web site at www.ihep.org/walmartminoritystudents.cfm