The Division of Enrollment Management earned a $50,000 grant to hire about 30 student mentors to get academically at-risk students back on the path to graduation.
The grant, which was awarded in February by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will fund a Spring 2007 pilot program that is designed to pair junior- and senior-level students with students who are on academic probation or who are in danger of being placed on probation. If the program is successful, the university will work to continue it in future semesters.
"We are trying to make a difference in our students' lives," says Troy Johnson, associate vice president for enrollment management. "This program provides an excellent opportunity to give upper level undergraduate students mentoring experience through helping peer students who are experiencing difficulty remaining in good academic standing."
The student mentors, who will undergo training in the coming weeks and will be paid for about 15 hours per week for their mentoring duties, will be hired by various departments and centers across campus such as academic departments, the TRIO Center for Student Development and the Learning Center.
Program coordinators in the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office expect to hire the first student mentors this month.
"Often times, students struggle academically because they are experiencing difficulty with their finances, self-motivation, time management or study skills," Johnson says. "For example, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will hire mentors who will focus on making sure students have all the advice and information they need to secure funding. At the same time, other students might benefit from career mentoring because sometimes students succeed at higher rates when they know where they are going and have a vision for the future."
The student mentors will be trained in a variety of areas so that they may best address the needs of the individual students seeking help.
Departments and centers that participate in the program will have 90 percent of their student mentors' salaries paid for by the grant money. This means that participating departments will only pay 10 percent, or $1.20, of the student mentors' salary, which will be about $8 per hour.
"Our Financial Aid Office is always looking for financial assistance to support our students, and this program uniquely ties financial support with helping students in academic risk," Johnson says. "It's a top priority for us to see that students who enroll here are successful."
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Contact: Julie Elliott Payne (940) 565-4892