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Mount Awarded $3.1-Million Federal Grant to Strengthen Technology, Enhance Student Support

Dec. 8, 2010 -- The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $3.1 million grant to Mount Saint Mary’s University to help improve graduation rates among its students, particularly Hispanic and low-income students. The new grant is the fifth Title V federal grant that the College has received in the past decade.

The grant, which will be disbursed to MSMU over the next five years, will also be used to equip the College with cutting-edge technology. The technology upgrade will give both students and faculty access to a series of advanced software programs, including Graphical Information Systems, a revolutionary tool that analyzes demographic and statistical data.

"This grant will help us strengthen our undergrads academically while providing computer upgrades to our students and staff," says Larry Smith, vice president of the Mount's Information Support and Enrollment Management, who led the grant's application process. "I'm excited about this grant because it will give our faculty greater resources to improve our curriculum."

As part of the funding initiative, the Mount will create iComunidad, a student support program to help first-year students clarify academic and career goals, complete 24 units in two semesters, and improve engagement within the campus community. The funding initiative will also retrofit five studio classrooms to foster undergraduate research and introduce students to integrated technology. Additionally, the funding will equip faculty and staff with sophisticated desktop tools that allow them to better analyze curriculum and key indicators of student and institutional success.

Smith credits Mount President Jacqueline Powers Doud with spearheading efforts to enhance technology systems. "President Doud has led the vision for our College to incorporate innovative technologies in our student and faculty development," says Smith. "This grant is so valuable because it will create change in student engagement as well as our technology."

While all Mount students will benefit from the retention and technology programs that will be implemented, the grant was awarded in part because of the College's plan to directly serve underrepresented students. Currently, 42 percent of Mount baccalaureate students are Hispanic, 54 percent are low-income, and 54 percent are first-generation college students.

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