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Buffalo State receives federal grant to address student support and retention

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo State College will have more resources to support and retain students, thanks to a $2.19 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The five-year grant will cover tutoring, coaching, and other initiatives that help students overcome roadblocks to earning their bachelor's degrees.

Like other institutions, Buffalo State enrolls many promising first-year undergraduates, but they don’t all graduate, noted Buffalo State Provost Melanie Perreault. She will serve as the project coordinator for the Insight to Impact grant.

The grant is designed to reverse this trend through heightened efforts to provide individual mentoring and tutoring to students who are struggling in one or more subjects, along with holistic advisement to address issues such as homesickness. The grant also will support data analytics and monitoring of retention efforts.

“We are extremely pleased to be named a recipient of the Title III grant that will continue to support ongoing initiatives that are the lifeblood of the college, as well as enhance others,” Perreault said. “While retention is important, ultimately our goal is to see students graduate. This grant will enable us to help move students quickly from admissions to graduation.”

Title III grants are designed for colleges and universities to expand their capacity to serve low-income students. This is the first time that Buffalo State has received the grant.

Part of the funding will support efforts in the new Academic Commons, which will be located in the E. H. Butler Library. The Academic Commons started in 2016 with the Oishei Drop-in Advising Center, funded by a $75,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation.

Once library renovations are complete in spring 2020, the Academic Commons will become a “one-stop shop” to meet students’ academic needs, including the Writing Center, the Math Center, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Advising Center, the Academic Center for Excellence, subject-specific tutoring, and Student Accessibility Services.

“All of these services exist now, but they are scattered across campus and can be difficult to locate as a result,” said Academic Commons Director Aimee Woznick.

The commons is part of $16.1 million in library renovations that began earlier this month and will take place over the next year and a half. The state-funded project will reconfigure parts of the first and second floors, situate librarians in upstairs offices, as well as provide greater technology support for students, noted Charles Lyons who assumed the role of library director in July.

“One of the themes of the library renovation is transparency,” Lyons said.

There will literally be more transparency with glass-enclosed offices and walls composed of glass.

Also, a new concierge’s desk will greet visitors when they walk into the library. The desk staff can direct students to all the services available to them.

“It’s all about bringing lots of disparate entities on campus together under one roof,” Lyons said.