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UMFK set to receive nearly $1.1 million in grant funding over four years from U.S. Department of Education

May 13, 2005

NR05078

A U.S. Department of Education grant that will likely bring nearly $1.1 million in grant funding to the University of Maine at Fort Kent over the next four years will benefit low income and first generation students, as well as students with disabilities, attending the campus.

UMFK was recently notified that its Student Support Services grant application to the Federal Department of Education has been approved in the amount of $274,335 for the period from September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2006. The money is renewable each year through August 31, 2009, depending on the University's performance in the previous year.

"This is good for the university, community and all eligible students. The funding will allow us to continue to serve many UMFK students who will require services that might not otherwise be available," said George Diaz, director of academic and counseling services who, along with his staff, authored the successful grant application.

The Student Support Services (SSS) program, funded by the DOE, provides opportunities for academic development and assistance for students in meeting basic college requirements. SSS projects are structured to motivate students toward the successful completion of their post-secondary education.

The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of program participants and to facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next.

"As a small institution, we are committed to working closely with our students to help them grow academically. The continued funding of this federal program will ensure that we continue to provide the necessary assistance many students need to prepare themselves for the future," said UMFK President Richard Cost.

Since the Student Support Services program was established on campus in 1980, more than 1,500 students have been served. Current numbers indicate that the program will reach approximately 400 new eligible students over the next four years of the program. Moreover, it is estimated that 75 percent of the students served will be from the St. John Valley.

"The grant funding will provide academic support to 160 UMFK students during the 2005-06 academic year," said Diaz.

Services provided by the program include instruction in basic study skills; tutorial services; academic, financial or personal counseling; assistance in securing admission and financial aid for enrollment in four year institutions and graduate and professional programs; information about career options; mentoring; and special services for students with limited English proficiency.

UMFK is one of ten Maine's colleges and universities awarded Student Support Services funding by the Department of Education.