UMUC Receives $1.2 Million Grant from The Kresge Foundation to Measure and Improve Student Success

Grant will fund development of new predictive models and success interventions designed to help close the achievement gap for underserved adult students in Maryland


By Kerry O'Neill (koneill@mghus.com) |   October 26, 2010

ADELPHI, MD (October 26, 2010)—UMUC announced today that it has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from The Kresge Foundation to develop—in partnership with Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) and Montgomery College (MC)—predictive models and success interventions designed to help close the achievement gap for underserved adult students in Maryland. The project aims to improve student retention and completion rates through data mining techniques, and will be conducted over a three-year period.

“UMUC is committed to providing flexible, affordable, high-quality programs for our students, most of whom work full-time or serve in the military while juggling family responsibilities,” said UMUC President Susan C. Aldridge. “This generous grant from The Kresge Foundation will allow us to explore the gap in student success, retention and graduation rates. It will help us and our community college partners to identify the factors that hinder some students from reaching their education goals and allow us to develop better strategies for intervening proactively on their behalf.”

Research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce indicates that by 2018, more than 68 percent of all jobs will require some post-secondary education—an increase of 40 percent from current needs. The grant project will help meet this increased need by focusing on working adults who matriculate at a community college, and then pursue a bachelor’s degree. Through this project, UMUC and its community college partners will implement a three-staged process that includes extracting and analyzing student data from each school, identifying strategies of successful and unsuccessful students to create evidence-based strategies and advising approaches to maximize student success, and developing and disseminating the results.

The grant will also enable UMUC and its partners to develop an integrated database system to build predictive models designed to increase rates of continuous enrollment and eventual graduation. Ultimately, the project will yield a replicable process based on data-driven practices that will lead to increases in student persistence and graduation rates.

About the Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation, headquartered in metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields of interest: health, the environment, community development, arts and culture, education and human services. In 2009, the Board of Trustees approved 404 awards totaling $197 million and paid out $167 million to grantees over the course of the year.