CACG Program aids under-represented students
The South Dakota College Access Challenge Grant Program -"Improving American Indian Retention in South Dakota's Institutions of Higher Education":
Dakota State University has an opportunity to receive up to $40,000 a year for 5 years through a grant from the South Dakota Department of Education. The South Dakota College Access Challenge Grant program was created to encourage South Dakota universities to develop and implement strategies designed to increase the retention and success rate of American Indian, and other under-represented students. The grant was co-written by Jesse Wise (PI) and Jenn Aranda (Project Director).
The grant will be administered by the DSU Office of Diversity Services. CACG is a matching grant, so DSU must commit to match the amount of the request. Jennifer Aranda, DSU's Diversity Coordinator, says the first year of the grant will give her office an opportunity to learn about the specific needs of the under-represented populations on campus. "We will look at the data and decide if we need to refocus for the second year of the grant, to make sure we are using the grant funding to the maximum advantage for our students."
The College Access grant targets all under-represented students in South Dakota. However, it has a special emphasis on American Indian students. Currently, American Indian students make up just 1.9 percent of the student population enrolled in the state's public universities, and 3.5 percent of those enrolled in the state's technical institutes.
Aranda says DSU will use the funds to engage in outreach activities, to help smooth the transition from high school to college, and to bolster retention efforts.