Four KU programs receive $8+ million grants

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 9:43 AM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - Four educational programs at the University of Kansas have been granted more than $8 million to continue serving first-generation and low-income students.

The University of Kansas says the Center of Educational Opportunity Programs recently secured more than $8 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Education in order to continue to help first-generation and low-income students reach college and excel.

Under the leadership of CEOP director Ngondi Kamatuka, KU said it received funds to continue four highly successful TRIO programs - KU TRIO McNair Scholars Program, KU TRIO Veterans Upward Bound and two Upward Bound Math & Science grants.

“TRIO programs provide the support systems that make positive differences and ultimately lead to success,” Kamaṱuka said. “At the University of Kansas, we have multiple college access and educational equity programs that allow for support across the spectrum of needs. This resecured funding allows CEOP to continue supporting high schoolers, veterans, student-parents and undergraduate researchers.”

KU noted that the McNair Scholars Program was established in 1992 and provides low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority students with the skills, resources and support needed to prepare and earn placement in graduate programs to pursue doctorate degrees.

For three decades, the university indicated that the legacy of the McNair program has worked to diversify academic and research fields with the preparation of undergraduate students for graduate school through scholarly activities and research opportunities. Under the current leadership of Mulubrhan Lemma, it said the most recent 5-year award of $1.6 million will continue to support 31 students each year.

“KU students who qualify for the TRIO McNair Scholars Program have a strong research potential. Their personal narrative greatly influences their academic interests and a commitment to create new legacies for their communities,” Lemma said. “Qualifying for McNair Scholars program indicates a strong academic potential and deep commitment to a rigorous and challenging academic track.”

KU said the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools program supports eligible student-parents in need of child care and provides student success programming. It said the program is a federally funded program established in 2018 to support eligible undergraduate and graduate students who have a child enrolled at Hilltop Child Development Center.

KU noted that the new CCAMPIS director, Tonya Waller, brings nearly 20 years of experience and most recently served as director of a GEAR UP program that serves students in Topeka.

“I am very excited to serve in this new capacity as CCAMPIS director,” Waller said. “This program will provide invaluable service and support for our student-parents in their degree attainment while mitigating the stress associated with finding and maintaining high-quality, affordable and accessible child care.”

The university said the most recent 4-year award of $1.8 million will continue the CCAMPIS partnership with Hilltop to provide financial support to 30 KU student-parents which to allow them to focus on education without the worry of affordable child care. This will increase the likelihood of degree completion.

Established in 1999, KU indicated the Veterans Upward Bound Program has a long legacy of serving veterans in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area - including Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and Cass and Clay counties in Missouri.

As an education and skills program meant to serve the needs of today’s veterans, KU said VUB annually supports 125 veterans by offering a range of valuable resources - advising, counseling and expertise to help discover personal paths to success.

KU noted that the $1.5 million 5-year grant will continue VUB’s legacy of preparing veterans for success at any stage of their educational journey, either beginning or returning to postsecondary education.

Lastly, the university indicated it received $3 million for two Upward Bound Math-Science grants designed to strengthen participating students’ math and science skills.

Known as the Math & Science Center, KU said one grant will provide services to 66 high school students at Highland Park, Topeka, Lawrence, J.C. Harmon or Washington high schools. The other grant, KU Upward Bound Math & Science, serves 60 students at Leavenworth and Turner high schools.

Together, KU indicated the grants will help students from five counties recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science, as well as encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science with the goal of securing careers in those areas.

“I want to make sure Kansans have access to high-quality higher education but also find success,” Kamaṱuka said. “Access isn’t enough if students don’t also have support. We provide decades of evidence-based support that is personalized to the unique needs of today’s students. KU’s TRIO programs will help the university work toward that goal.”

For more information about the CEOP, click HERE.