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July 2008

Release Date: July 28, 2008

New Grant to Aid ASU First Generation Students

Angelo State University’s new Office of Multicultural and Community Relations has received a $25,000 grant from the Greater Texas Foundation to aid the university’s retention efforts for first-generation students.

The money from the Greater Texas Foundation Generation Proud Scholarship Program will help fund ASU's new First Generation RAMS (Raising and Meeting Standards) program that will go into effect for the upcoming fall semester. The program will link seasoned first-generation students who have completed at least 24 semester credit hours with new first-generation students in a mentoring relationship. The mentor and mentee students will then be eligible to apply for a scholarship funded by the grant for the 2009 spring semester, ranging from $500-$2,000.

“This is the first time that Angelo State has requested and received scholarship funds specifically for first-generation students,” said Flor Madero, coordinator for multicultural and community relations. “This financial aid will be instrumental in helping these students, whose parents have not graduated from college, achieve their educational goals. Angelo State is taking great strides in helping students of all backgrounds be successful as they pursue higher education.”

The scholarships will be distributed based on participation in the program during the fall semester, the students’ fall semester GPAs and financial need.

This spring, 12 experienced first-generation students signed up for the program and completed a six-week series of leadership workshops in preparation for their mentorship duties. Each of them will be paired this fall with one or two first-generation freshmen who they will mentor over the course of the academic year.

Program activities will include meetings with a program coordinator, luncheon meetings with local first-generation professionals covering topics to develop college survival skills, cultural activities, volunteer service projects and a banquet at the end of the fall semester.

Each year, about 40 percent of ASU freshmen do not return for their sophomore years and many of those are first-generation students. The First Generation RAMS program was created to address the attrition among first-generation students and give them extra support to persist through to graduation. Such retention efforts are key as ASU moves toward its goal of 10,000 students within the next dozen years.