Goodwin College has been selected by the United States Department of Education to receive a Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) CFDA # 84.031A grant, designed to help eligible institutions of higher education become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. The award was announced on September 28, 2018.
The SIP award is for $2,118,887 over a five-year period to support the initiatives listed below. At Goodwin, the SIP funds will be used to implement a new research-based educational strategy: Strengthening Technology and Advising to Retain Students (STARS). The goal of STARS is to increase retention and graduation rates for associate degree-seeking students by 5% in five years. Ninety-five percent of the total cost of STARS will be financed by the federal government, with the remaining 5% coming from non-governmental sources.
Sandra Ward, Director of Grants at Goodwin, said, “We’re incredibly pleased that Goodwin College has been recognized in this way on a national level. Many departments and individuals within the College worked together on the grant application. With so many insights into the ways to best serve our students, we believe that STARS will be a true milestone in advancing our career-focused programs.”
In brief, the objectives of STARS include:
- All new students will be screened with academic, financial, and other assessments to identify risk.
- At-risk students will be served holistically with academic advising at its core and case management by a team comprising an academic advisor, financial aid counselor, financial literacy educator, and career specialist.
- At-risk students will have early career assessments and consultations with a career advisor to consider academic programs for which they are well suited.
- The First Year Experience course will be redesigned to include 15 hours of financial literacy education.
- New software will allow timely degree audits, accelerate early alerts, and improve identification of at-risk students via a single access portal.
- Faculty and staff will be trained to use the new advising model and software.
“Student support has always been at the heart of Goodwin’s reason for being,” said Danielle Wilken, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. “The STARS strategy will allow us to act even more thoughtfully and proactively. We can identify potential risks in a student’s educational path and immediately create a safety net that minimizes any negative effects. This is a great addition to our services and will benefit our students in countless ways.”