September 18th, 2017

PNC donates $750,000 for new student development initiative

PNC donated $750,000 to Cleveland State University for student development initiatives last month.

The partnership developed two programs to further student success in an effort to decrease student debt while improving retention and graduation rates.

Cleveland State President Ronald Berkman explained in a news release that certain years in students’ experiences can alter their expected graduation.

“We have uncovered multiple tipping points in a college student’s path to graduation, with two of the most important being [his] first year of school and [his] last,” Berkman said.

Cleveland State, in conjunction with PNC, created the PNC Scholar Program and the PNC Mentoring Program after identifying these difficulties during the two years. The PNC programs are separate initiatives that will coincide with existing university programs.

The scholar program assists undergraduate students working toward their degree with academic need, according to Cleveland State Director of Communications William Dube.

“The program is for students in good academic standing who have one or two semesters remaining toward their degree who have maxed out their financial aid,” Dube said.

The goal is to allow eligible students to receive financial assistance to help them graduate on time.

Dube also said the scholar program will build on the Radiance Scholar Program that was started six years ago to aid students faced with financial burdens preventing them from graduating within four years.

While this program aids students in their final year, the peer-mentoring program focuses on the success of freshmen and helps them adjust to student life in conjunction with The First Year Experience course (ASC 101). The initiative is expected to start on a small scale and then increase.

“Initially we are going to provide mentors for a couple of sections of the program with the idea of ramping up to provide mentors for all class sessions,” Dube said.

ASC 101 is a mandatory course for freshmen students. It has 65 sections that will eventually need peer mentors.

Because the programs are independent of each other, different offices within the university will handle them.

According to Dube, the scholarship initiative will be handled through the Financial Aid Office while the Vice Provost for Academic Programs will operate the mentors program.

The university has not set parameters yet for the application process. Requirements should be available this winter, and students will then be able to apply to the two programs after they are implemented.


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