The College selected to receive Wal-Mart Grant
Longmeadow, Massachusetts – Bay Path College has been selected by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to receive the Wal-Mart College Success Award—a $100,000 grant to help build on Bay Path’s demonstrated successes in enrolling, retaining, and graduating first-generation college students. Bay Path College was one of only 20 colleges nationwide, including two in New England, selected through a highly competitive application process to receive the award, which is intended to help institutions that are already deeply committed to the education of first-generation students.
“We are very excited to have been chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges to receive this grant for our project, “Making Connections – Improving Retention and Achieving Success Among First-Generation Undergraduate Women in the First Two Years”, said Dr. Carol A. Leary, President of Bay Path College. “Our mission as a women’s college compels us to find innovative ways to help women in our region succeed. The grant provides us with much needed resources to support the academic achievement of our many students who are the first in their families to attend college, and to encourage their personal growth and full engagement in their college experience.”
Over 75% of Bay Path undergraduates are first-generation, a trend that has steadily increased over the past five years. The grant targets first-generation students’ transition from the first to second year of college, when students are most likely to quit college. By strengthening and coordinating several successful programs already in place, the award will allow the college to forge stronger connections among students, the college, and the surrounding community so that students feel they belong in college, can contribute to their community and are better prepared to succeed academically. Bay Path’s multifaceted approach includes a first-year leadership course, discussion groups that focus on key academic skills, a peer tutoring program, a faculty mentorship program, funding for study and travel abroad, and expanded opportunities for community service.
“CIC was delighted that 217 institutions—more than a third of its membership—applied for the grants. More importantly, we were amazed at the outstanding quality of their programs—truly a testament to the efforts of private colleges to ensure the success of first-generation students,” said CIC President Richard Ekman in announcing the awards. “These awards will help strengthen those programs and also provide recognition that their work is important,” Ekman added.
“Wal-Mart is proud to support programs that enable first generation students to succeed in college,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “Wal-Mart’s partnership with CIC identifies institutions committed to the success of first generation students and will help identify and share effective programs.”
Nationwide, at all colleges and universities, only 24 percent of first-generation students succeed in earning a bachelor’s degree compared with 68 percent of students whose parents received a bachelor’s degree. The colleges that have been selected for the Wal-Mart College Success Awards have developed programs that result in higher percentages of graduates among their first-generation college students than the national average, and many graduate first-generation students at the same rate as all other students.
The Wal-Mart College Success Awards program is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges and made possible by a generous grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.
For more information about the Wal-Mart College Success Awards and the programs of the 20 winners, visit the CIC website at www.cic.edu/projects_services/walmart_college_success.asp.
About Bay Path College
Bay Path is a four-year private college with an enrollment of over 1,600 students at its Longmeadow campus, and satellite campuses in Sturbridge/Charlton (MA) and Burlington (MA). The College offers undergraduate degrees for women; graduate degrees for men and women; and Bay Path Online, the College’s online center offering graduate degrees and certificates.
About The Council of Independent Colleges
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 580 independent, liberal arts colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education’s contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu/.
About the Wal-Mart Foundation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health. In 2007, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
1 Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, Fourth Follow-up, Postsecondary Education Transcript Study, 2000.