Student Success, Graduation Rates To Improve At USC Upstate Thanks To $2.2 Million Grant

September 12, 2014 at 9:48 am

The University of South Carolina Upstate will increase student success to graduation as a result of being awarded a $2.2 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant by the U.S. Department of Education.  The funds will be distributed over a span of five years, beginning Oct. 1. The first-year allocation will be $422,888.

“We are extremely pleased to receive a grant of this magnitude that will directly benefit our students,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Tom Moore. “Student success is our highest priority, and because of this grant, more students who come to us as freshmen will be successful. Increased student success will be reflected in improved retention and graduation rates.”

Title III funding program provides grants to higher education institutions to expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

Moore points out that the University is eligible for this grant because it serves a high proportion of Pell-grant eligible students and because it receives less state appropriations for educational and general expenditures per full-time equivalent (FTE) South Carolina student compared to other four-year public institutions. Pell Grants are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor’s degree. USC Upstate remains well below the state average in funding, receiving $1,988 per FTE student while the state average is $2,770 per FTE student. This funding gap has occurred over the last 10-15 years when USC Upstate has experienced a sharp growth curve and state funding per FTE student has not kept up with growth.

USC Upstate will use the funds to expand the existing Student Success Center to include hiring four academic advisers; to provide faculty development opportunities, especially to encourage technology integration into course offerings; and to refit classrooms as active learning spaces which better meet the needs of today’s connected students.