Release Date: March 11, 2009
ASU Wins Grant for RAMS Program Scholarships
For the second straight year, Angelo State University’s Office of Multicultural and Community Relations has received a $25,000 Generation Proud grant from the Greater Texas Foundation to aid the university’s recruiting and retention efforts for first generation students.
The grant money from the Greater Texas Foundation Generation Proud Scholarship Program will help fund ASU’s First Generation RAMS (Raising and Meeting Standards) program. RAMS links seasoned first generation students who have completed at least one semester with new first generation students in a mentoring relationship for the fall semester. The mentor and mentee students are then eligible to apply for scholarships funded by the grant for the following spring semester, ranging from $500-$1,500.
“Our office works not just to recruit students, but to retain them as well,” said Flor Madero, multicultural and community relations coordinator. “We know that when students connect to the campus, there is a higher likelihood that they will stay, so that is where the mentor program comes in.”
The scholarships are distributed based on participation in the program during the fall semester, the students’ fall semester GPAs and financial need. In 2008, the RAMS program distributed 15 scholarships. This spring, there are 42 students signed up as mentors and mentees.
Program activities 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.
“First generation students make up one of our target groups,” Madero said. “The money supports them financially, the mentors support them socially and by giving them information, we support them academically.”
Each year, about 40 percent of ASU freshmen do not return for their sophomore years and many of those are first generation students. The 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 goals of achieving Hispanic Serving Institution status and reaching 10,000 students within the next dozen years.