Notre Dame of Maryland University’s (NDMU) commitment to supporting and serving under-represented students grows stronger and will see sustainable growth in the programs offered to these students in the coming years due to the award of the largest federal grant in the institution’s 125-year history. NDMU was recently awarded a $2.1 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
“Successfully securing this support speaks volumes about the confidence placed in Notre Dame’s ability to continue transforming the learning experience for our students. This program will provide a leap forward for NDMU in terms of how we support student learning and how we can retain and graduate greater numbers of students,” said President Marylou Yam. “START-L is the product of collaborative, cross-institutional planning and we are thrilled to be among the institutions selected for funding this year.”
The Title III SIP is a highly competitive program – just 64 institutions received funding in this latest round. Institutions are only eligible for such funding if they serve significant populations of Pell Grant-eligible and underrepresented students. NDMU’s funded program, entitled Specialized Technology to Advance and Renew Teaching and Learning (START-L), will serve to enhance retention, academic programs, faculty and student learning resources and support, and integrated technology and advising systems.
Over five years, the START-L program will expand academic enrichment resources, such as the Trailblazers program, to serve all of NDMU’s Women’s College; enhance academic advising and case management with new technology; and provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff in working with diverse populations and first-generation students.
NDMU will focus on developing its early college model for dually enrolled students as well as expanding its accelerated degree options to include other disciplines. Professors and advisors will benefit from professional development programs and national conferences to improve their approach to working with students from diverse populations, first-generation and low-income students.
With the support of SIP funding, NDMU will expand its attention to students who are at risk for failing, ensuring greater retention and an increased graduation rate. There are four key measures of successful outcomes as a result of this funding: (1) increase fall-to-fall full-time retention 8%; (2) increase new transfer students by 43%; (3) increase student participation in Early College and accelerated-degree options 100% to 62 students; and (4) increase the overall, 6-year graduation rate by 10% to 63%.
NDMU shares support for the program of 9% of the total project value, or $214,080, over the life of the grant. The US Department of Education supports 91% of the total project. The total START-L program reflects $2,315,390 in federal and non-federal support.
“To be a recipient of funds from the Strengthening Institutions Program is a remarkable honor for Notre Dame. This program is the result of many years of careful planning and consideration of what academic and institutional supports would most impact NDMU’s ability to retain and graduate diverse populations, as well as students with financial challenges,” shared Carroll Gavin, NDMU’s Interim Associate Vice President of Development.
The U.S. Department of Education grant will help NDMU remain committed, and strengthen its impact, to providing all students regardless of background an opportunity to receive a quality secondary education experience that prepares them to be leaders who transform the world.