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Ferris State Receives $600K-Plus King/Chavez/Parks Grant to Support University Retention programs for Economically Disadvantaged Students

KCP photo one

Ferris State Professor of Television and Digital Media Production Nick Kuiper instructs students on camera usage during a class session on campus in Big Rapids.

Ferris State University’s efforts to help students be successful and finish their education now has major help through Martin Luther King, Jr.-César Chávez-Rosa Parks Initiative, Select Student Support Services funding from the state of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Workforce Development.

Ferris State has been awarded $607,938, distributed in the amount of $101,323 per year over six years. The university will match a minimum of 30 percent above what the state of Michigan has offered.

“Receiving the Martin Luther King, Jr.-César Chávez-Rosa Parks Initiative, Select Student Support Services (4S) grant reflects Ferris State’s legacy as a university open to, and highly supportive of, all who seek the opportunities made possible through a college education,” said Jason Bentley, dean of Retention and Student Success. “The KCP-4S grant will help reduce equity gaps and enable more outstanding, Michigan students to achieve their career aspirations and strengthen the communities where they live and work.”

The KCP-4S grant funding positions Ferris State to hire a program coordinator, strengthen student support, purchase supplies and offer expanded and targeted programming.

“The program’s overall goal is to increase student success and retention, to help students choose an academic major that matches their personal and professional interests, and enable them to progress to timely graduation,” said Michael Zaborowski, director of Academic Advising at Ferris State.

The KCP-4S grant focuses on retention programming benefiting academically or economically disadvantaged legal residents of Michigan who are enrolled at four-year public and independent educational institutions in Michigan. The KCP-4S program strives to increase graduation rates for the targeted students through seed money backing institutional change.

The 4S funds will be awarded in a six-year grant cycle that began on Oct. 1, 2023, and runs through Sept. 30, 2029.

“Our proposed scholars’ program will provide support through intensive, proactive, and strengths-based interventions with program staff, peer mentors, academic advisors and classroom faculty during the first year of college,” Zaborowski said. “To help advisors and program staff design appropriate interventions and connect students with resources and services, Ferris will utilize an advanced student success management system known as Navigate. Navigate will enable students the ability to easily seek out and locate assistance and provide faculty and staff the ability to share helpful feedback to encourage academic progress.”

Ferris’ KCP-4S program serves eligible students in any undergraduate academic program of study by providing support through intensive, proactive and strengths-based interventions.

“Students will also participate in enrichment activities aimed at social integration and engagement,” Zaborowski said. “These activities will foster a sense of belonging and community, enhancing the overall student experience.”

The program doesn’t stop for students after the first year.

“Sophomores, juniors and seniors who complete the program will be invited to continue participating in enrichment opportunities to build sense of community and support within the program,” Zaborowski said. “These students will be invited to serve as mentors to incoming first-year students every year to help new student transition to Ferris and the scholars program.”