$262,000 Grant to Help Denver Students Succeed at UNC

The Denver Scholarship Foundation recently received a multi-year, $262,000 grant from TG, a Texas nonprofit, to greatly expand student support services for its scholarship recipients, with most of the funding designated for students attending the University of Northern Colorado.

The TG grant will build on dramatic success achieved under a similar pilot program operated by the Denver Scholarship Foundation and Colorado State University - Pueblo, where 78 percent of first-year students returned to the campus for their second year of college last year, compared to 52 percent before the pilot program began.

Currently at UNC, 62 percent of first-year DSF Scholars return to the campus for their second year of college. With support from the TG grant, DSF aims to increase the success rate to 87 percent, including students who may choose to transfer to a different college after their first year.

"DSF has thoughtfully designed a strategy that strengthens the network of support for students," said Jacob Fraire, TG's vice president for student and institutional success. "We believe this approach has the potential to inform other partnerships between nonprofits and higher education institutions, and that it will ultimately result in higher levels of educational attainment - especially for students from low-income backgrounds."

The Denver Scholarship Foundation provides college advice, scholarships and ongoing support to Denver Public Schools graduates to help them earn a college or technical school degree. About 80 percent of DSF Scholars come from low-income families and 75 percent of them are among the first generation in their family to attend college.

DSF and UNC expect that 500 seniors in Denver Public Schools will consider applying to UNC in the coming school year. The grant will fund campus tours and advising services on admissions and financial aid to help the students better understand if the campus if a good fit for them. The grant will also provide support services, including mentoring, tutoring and community building activities for approximately 80 first-year students as well as other students with fewer than 30 credits at UNC.

"We will now be able to offer our services more intensively, especially to first-year students as they transition to college," said UNC's DSF academic coach Adam Alirez, who has advised and mentored scholars since 2008. "We know that the first year is critical in helping them make connections and stay focused academically so they persist."

"This grant will allow DSF and UNC to surround our scholarship recipients with support services to help them succeed in college and graduate," said Nate Easley, DSF Executive Director. "We'll work closely with our partners at UNC to ensure that our students quickly become part of the campus community, connect with resources that can help them succeed academically and socially, and get the help they need if their grades start to slip."

The National College Access Network, which last year awarded the Denver Scholarship Foundation's founders with the prestigious Champion of College Access award, lauded the college completion partnership between DSF, TG and UNC.

"We congratulate DSF on this award from TG to support students through college completion. Partnerships with institutions of higher education deepen our programs' work across the access-to-success continuum," said Kim Cook, Executive Director of the National College Access Network (NCAN).

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TG: TG is a nonprofit organization based in Round Rock, Texas, that offers resources to help students and families plan and prepare for college, learn the basics of money management, and repay their federal student loans. For more information, visit www.TG.org.

Denver Scholarship Foundation: The Denver Scholarship Foundation makes college possible for thousands of Denver students each year. It is a nonprofit organization that provides proactive college advice inside DPS high schools, scholarships to low- and middle-income students, and support services on college campuses to help students earn college and technical school degrees. Visit www.denverscholarship.org.

University of Northern Colorado: The University of Northern Colorado, the state's premier student-centered university since 1889, has more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students studying in a broad array of programs in education, the arts, sciences, humanities and business. The UNC experience combines a solid liberal arts foundation, relevant professional coursework, innovative technology and real-world experiences to prepare students for a life of learning. Visit www.unco.edu for more information.