FAIRFIELD, Ala. – Miles College will subsidize $3.9 million of federal student loans for a full-time students enrolled in the Spring 2022 academic semester with funds received from the Higher Education Emergency Fund (HEERF).

Instead of offering student direct federal loans, the College will alleviate some of the financial burdens of repaying students loans post-graduation by providing funding to minimize the number of students loans for its students.

“Our students have worked very hard to continue to thrive in a culture that many of us have not had to endure while being in college,” said Bobbie Knight, Miles College President. “We will continue to deploy as many resources as possible to support our students and ensure their success during and after their time at Miles College.”

The investment in Miles College reinforces the College’s commitment earlier this year when the College allocated funding to clear over $2.1 million in outstanding student balances.

“We understand how student loans are disproportionately impacting our students, and this is our first step in addressing the student loan crisis that many of our students face,” said Michael Johnson, Miles College Vice President of Enrollment Management. “Eliminating student loans for our students will help narrow the wealth gap and have a long-term impact on our students’ futures.”

The decision is the College’s first step to support their students navigating the student loan debt crisis. College officials are exploring opportunities to sustain these efforts with corporate and community partners.

About Miles College
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution located in metropolitan Birmingham within the corporate limits of the City of Fairfield. The noble founders of the institution saw educated leadership as the paramount need in the black community. Miles, which is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by Commission on Colleges for the awarding of Baccalaureate Degrees, is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham Alabama designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

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FAIRFIELD, Ala.Miles College announced it has received a $250,000 grant from the Regions Foundation to help cover student tuition needs and pay for scholarship opportunities as students pursue their degree at Miles.

The Regions Foundation is a nonprofit initiative that is primarily funded by Regions Bank. The Foundation issues grants that prioritize more inclusive prosperity, including through education and workforce readiness.

The $250,000 grant from the Regions Foundation will not only support current students, but also students who previously attended Miles College in the fall of 2019 or prior and wish to return, but still have unpaid student balances.

“I am grateful for the continued support that the Regions Foundation has bestowed upon Miles College,” said Bobbie Knight, Miles College President. “This investment in our students has given them the opportunity to return and finish their degrees without worrying about past balances.”

Both the Regions Foundation and Regions Bank are committed to supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Miles grant is similar in size and scope to grants provided by the Regions Foundation to additional HBCUs this semester. Further, the Regions Foundation and Regions Bank have a clear commitment to supporting a wide range of programs and initiatives that promote greater racial equity and economic empowerment for communities of color.

“The Regions Foundation is committed to advancing education opportunities for students across our communities while removing barriers to success,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “Those barriers often include financial challenges in obtaining a degree, and our goal is to use the foundation’s resources in a way that connects more students with the opportunity to complete their education and pursue rewarding careers. For over 100 years, Miles College has prepared students to excel collegiately and professionally. This grant from the Regions Foundation will significantly impact students as they pursue and achieve successful, rewarding careers.”

About Miles College
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal art institution located in metropolitan Birmingham within the corporate limits of the City of Fairfield. The noble founders of the institution saw educated leadership as the paramount need in the black community. Miles, which is fully accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by Commission on Colleges for the awarding of Baccalaureate Degree, is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham, Alabama designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economics and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.

About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $156 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage produces and services. Regions serve customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,300 banking offices and approximately 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

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Washtenaw Community College, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Southern University at New Orleans recently announced a partnership creating a pathway to success for students transferring associate degrees.

Announced ahead of National Transfer Student Week (Oct. 18-22), this news marks the first comprehensive agreement – with benefits such as guaranteed admission and access to in-state tuition – between a Michigan two-year school and a Historically Black College & University (HBCU).

The Washtenaw Community College HBCU Pathway program creates opportunities for student success and transfer equity by providing a clear, direct, affordable and supportive pathway for community college students to attend HBCUs.

In addition to guaranteeing admission to Jackson State (JSU), Mississippi Valle State (MVSU) and Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) for WCC students who successfully complete requirements, the partnership opens access to in-state tuition and scholarships and waives application fees.

Transfer agreements between WCC and other HBCUs will soon be announced.

Representatives from JSU, MVSU and SUNO will discuss a partnership and transfer information during a panel session hosted by WCC during National Transfer Week. Current and prospective WCC students and families, as well as members of the community, are invited to register to attend the virtual session from 6-7:30 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellance

“Creating a pipeline for students success is essential to our mission, and it starts with access, nurturing students with big dreams and helping them realize the opportunities to further their education,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellance.

“Our new HBCU pathway is designed to support students from high school through community college and then through completion of their bachelor’s degree. We are excited to announce our first HBCU partnerships with Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Southern University in New Orleans.”

The three HBCUs are rich in history with an extensive offering of undergraduate and graduate programs, including those Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Jackson State University President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D.

“Our new partnership with Wastenaw Community College will ensure that deserving students have a solid pathway to continue their education in a caring, encouraging environment that will enhance their skills in their chosen field of interest,” said JSU President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D.

“I look forward to watching these students matriculate to obtain their bachelor’s degrees and beyond.”

Located in Jackson, Miss., Jackson State University was originally founded in 1877 as a seminary and today has grown into a comprehensive urban research university offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including at the doctorate level.

MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr.

“We here at MVSU are so excited to join in partnership with Washtenaw Community College,” said MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr. “Having a pathway for students to transfer seamlessly between our institutions shows our mutual commitment to student success and further supports the importance of higher education achievement. We look forward to starting and building on this tremendous opportunity.”

Located in Itta Bena, Miss., Mississippi Valley State University held its first classes in 1950, originally to train rural and elementary teachers and to provide vocational education. It now offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts and sciences, and professional studies.

SUNO Executive Vice President-Chancellor Dr. James H. Ammons, Jr.

“We are excited to partner with Washtenaw Community College and also pleased to be one of the three HBCUs to create opportunities for student success,” said Dr. James H. Ammons, Jr., SUNO Executive Vice President-Chancellor. “This is also a great way for Southern University at New Orleans to expand its footprint in the Michigan region. Students will have an impeccable transfer experience from WCC to SUNO to enroll in our undergraduate degree programs and also matriculate to our graduate programs.”

Located in New Orleans, SUNO was founded as a branch unit of Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College in Baton Rouge in 1956 and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, business and public administration, education and human development and social work.

One of the benefits of the new HBCU transfer pipeline is that it offers an attractive return on investment for college students and families. With a $2,280 average annual full-time in-district tuition, WCC already provides an affordable start to a college education.

“This is the perfect opportunity for me. Having the close-knit community and support services that both WCC and HBCUs offers for biology majors like myself is very important,” said current WCC student Alexia Easley, an Ypsilanti resident and Ann Arbor Pioneer High School graduate. “I’m excited because I know HBCUs provide such a phenomenal impact on STEM students.”

DeVaughn Swanson knows the value of great opportunities an HBCU education provides. The former WCC student transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2008. He graduated from Morehouse in 2012 and is now a Detroit attorney and Ypsilanti pastor.

“WCC prepared me for Morehouse College by offering rigorous courses and practical student leadership opportunities. I think this partnership is a dynamic idea and further proves that WCC is committed to ensuring the future success of all WCC students,” Swanson said. “This partnership gives students interested in HBCUs something to look forward to and work toward. A person who has been educated at WCC and an HBCU is destined to make a positive impact on the world.”

WCC’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion led development of the alliance to provide additional pathways to success for the college’s diverse student population and is planning high school outreach events to highlight the new HBCU agreements as well as programming and support for WCC students planning to transfer to an HBCU partner.

For more information, email diversity@wccnet.edu.

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PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was recently awarded financial support from the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU), to support participation in the largest-ever institutional collaborative effort to collect and share data geared at finding solutions for college access and help generate more graduates from underrepresented minority, low-income, and first generation backgrounds. Dr. Braque Talley, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Success at UAPB, has a passion for student success and retention and the grant will support his efforts to improve local and national education opportunities.

Dr. Braque Talley, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“Getting students enrolled in college is no longer enough,said Dr. Talley. “We don’t just want students to attend UAPB. We want them to graduate from here as well. The success of our students is a priority for our Chancellor.”

Dr. Talley is using the funds to help review best practices that help with student successes and share the successful initiatives that impact institutional equity. As a participant, Dr. Talley will share his data with other public universities working together to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.

“By collecting, reporting, and analyzing data from students of all backgrounds across the country, it will help to foster more informed decisions about how to improve opportunities and support the current gaps in student success,” said Dr. Talley.

“Dr. Talley’s dedication to student individual success is evident,” said George Cotton, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at UAPB. “Since day one, he has been driven to finding solutions to help student succeed, generate retention for the university, and help young people find their place in the world.” Even amid history’s worst pandemic, Dr. Talley was relentless in finding ways to stay engaged with local youth and help students find success. He and his team are credited for helping UAPB reach the largest enrollment increase in nearly a decade and increase the retention rate the one of the highest in the university’s history, according to reports.

“We are proud of our participation in this new initiative focused on data-driven research to determine solutions for student outcomes,” said Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB Chancellor. “UAPB is committed to being more student-focused and more responsive to change with the goal of increasing student success and the removal of impediments to student retention, progression, and timely graduation.”

Other institutions selected for the nationwide initiative are Clemson University; Illinois State University; Ohio University; Middle Tennessee State University; Montana State University; New Mexico State University; University of New Orleans; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Rutgers University-Newark; University of South Alabama; Texas Tech University; Tuskegee University; Virginia Commonwealth University; Western Michigan University; and University of Wyoming.

Dr. Talley proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the HBCU Campaign Fund.

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About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. Its mission is to promote and sustain excellent academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to providing access and opportunity to academically deserving students and producing graduates who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global community. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

Dr. Alvin Smith

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College graduate Dr. Alvin Smith, manager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) Planetary Protection Center of Excellence and Backward Planetary Protection Lead for Mars Sample Return, credits Talladega for providing the foundation that helped him excel in science.

“Talladega College really shaped my first understanding of the scientist, individually and collectively, that I wanted to become. The sense of family and community fostered a sense of belonging you rarely find these days, rooted in historical black excellence,” said Dr. Smith. “It was this TC community that made the first investment, through scholarships and didactic scientific education, that truly launched my ambitions to the stars.”

Dr. Smith provides program management and scientific oversight to several research & development projects, training programs, university outreach, and interagency collaborations at NASA JPL at the California Institute of Technology. The JPL Planetary Portection Center of Excellence promotes and sustains the infrastructure of planetary protection at JPL while supporting NASA missions. JPL fosters a culture of intra and inter collaboration to meet evolving mission requirements. The Planetary Protection Center of Excellence ensures that its scientists and engineers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, remain effectively trained, lead mission-related Research & Technology Development projects, and leverage leading government and industry advancements, so that they can better fulfill multi-mission needs. Dr. Smith joined JPL after spending over 16 years in consulting as a biodefense subject matter expert (SME) and researcher in high containment labs.

These experiences highlight his understanding of what it takes to conduct challenging biological studies, implement and lead successful scientific projects, and build lasting partnerships. His scientific contributions in immunology, infectious diseases, and animal models have aided the federal government in developing medical countermeasures and biodetection capabilities for human smallpox, Ebola, and other potential biological weapons. He is a past recipient of numerous awards and honors, including JPL’s Voyager Award, the Noblis Technology Leadership Award, and the IGCC (Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation) Public Policy and Biological Threats Fellowship Award.

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About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is home of the renowned Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

Pictured: left to right in this 2013 are former Talladega College Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Harry Coaxum, Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, Billye Aaron and Henry “Hank” Aaron. The Aarons, who established a $500,000 endowed scholarship at Talladega College, were conferred with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

(TALLADEGA, AL) – While Henry “Hank” Aaron will be remembered for his extraordinary baseball skills, Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins noted that Aaron’s contributions to higher education were equally legendary.

“Hank Aaron was not only a sports legend, but a devoted philanthropist and an advocate for higher education. His generosity made it possible for thousands of students to enroll in college and graduate. Here at Talladega College, he and his wife, Billye, established a $500,000 endowed scholarship that has had a tremendous impact,” said Dr. Hawkins.

“Hank was a personal friend of mine and he was very receptive when I approached him about helping Talladega College students. I am so grateful for the support that he and Mrs. Aaron have provided our students and for students throughout the nation,” he continued.

Hank and Billye Aaron were both conferred with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Talladega College in 2013, when they presented the college with a $104,000 check.

“I first met Hank when I served as president at Texas College, his wife’s alma mater. I was immediately inspired by their profound generosity and their impact on the lives of students. While the world will definitely remember him for his amazing athletic skills, thousands of college students will remember Hank Aaron for his remarkable generosity.”

“On behalf of the Talladega College family, I extend my sincere condolences to Mrs. Aaron and the entire Aaron family.”

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About Talladega College
Talladega College, Alabama’s first private historically black college, is consistently ranked among the best southeastern colleges and top HBCUs in the nation. It was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, Williams Savery and Thomas Tarrant, and is the home of the renowned Hale Woodruff Amisted Murals. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

ALBANY, GA – Amidst the pandemic, Albany State University (ASU) officials are pleased to see a higher enrollment for the fall 2020 semester. This is ASU’s largest enrollment in the past three years, with an increase of nearly 6% from 2019. Under President Marion Ross Fedrick’s leadership, the University has implemented strategic scholarship allocations, recruitment strategies, and student success programs that have led to this achievement.

ASU assists students in need through the efforts of scholarships such as the Golden RAM Retention Grant (GAP Scholarship), the Local Scholars Grant and many more through the ASU Foundation. The recruitment strategy has pivoted to digital experiences to maintain student engagement, such as virtual one on one and group sessions with recruiters.

ASU has also launched student success programs to ensure continued academic excellence and student success, as part of the University’s Golden RAM Guarantee. Some of these programs are Virtual and Face-to-Face Study Table, adding a virtual component to peer tutoring and Math and English Tutoring Centers, the Academic Success Coach Initiative, and combining the enrollment service center into the one-stop-shop, RAM Central.

As ASU continues to recruit potential Golden Rams for the ’21-’22 academic year, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, kenyatta Johnson says, “Students and parents continue to be impressed by our range of over 60 programs and our continued commitment to academic excellence and student success. The student success initiatives we have launched in the past year have assisted with retention and improved upon the collegiate experience.”

The application deadline to apply for spring 2021 is November 1. In addition to multiple student success initiatives, ASU offers research opportunities, study abroad programs, community engagement, and over 50 student organizations to be a part of. Students can apply at www.asurams.edu/apply.

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WILBERFORCE, OH – Wilberforce University’s President, Dr. Elfred A. Pinkard, has launched its 2056 Future Focus Campaign #WilberforceUnite, which will concentrate on securing the financial future for the University. The 69-day campaign set goal is to raise $2 million to help meet the university’s need in support of students, facility enhancements, faculty and staff development, and academic programs.

“The Wilberforce Unite Campaign is about much more than giving to Wilberforce University. To be sure, that is an important and essential goal, but there are other considerations. We have the capacity to build a first-rate Wilberforce University with an uncompromising commitment to excellence, high performance and innovation. We need only look back at Wilberforce’s history and accomplishments of past Wilberforceans to look forward and image a future that is formidable and possible. We have but two choices; we can allow the naysayers to spew their negativity about what we cannot do, or we can collectively commit to facing our challenges together with determination and certainty and show the world what we can do. We Are Wilberforce!” said Pinkard in a statement.

Visit www.wilberforceunite.com to learn more on how to support and give to the #WilberforceUnite Campaign.

Like Wilberforce University on Facebook, and follow @wilberforce_u on Twitter and Instagram.

About Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University is a four-year, fully accredited liberal arts institution offering 20 academic concentrations in business, communications, computing and engineering sciences, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Wilberforce University also offers dual degree programs in architecture, aerospace, and nuclear engineering. Though the University’s Adult and Continuing Education program, WU offers Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business (CLIMB), for individuals interested in completing their bachelor of science in organizational management, health care administration and information technology. Visit www.wilberforce.edu for more information.

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WINSTON-SALEM, NC –  Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has received recognition for its participation in a new program that aims to close the completion gap and promote social mobility nationwide.

According to a press release by the university, WSSU is one of seven mentor institutions in the program, through the Foundation for Student Success (FSS).

The program – set to impact 100,000 Black, Latino and American Indian students at 12 mentee institutions – was introduced at the inaugural National Student Success Conference in Tampa on Feb 22. Case studies from WSSU and the other mentor institutions also are available on the FSS website.

“There are many national projects to support institutional transformation for student success,” said Foundation for Student Success Executive Director Dr. Sally Johnstone. “But the work of the Foundation for Student Success is more personal than most. These mentor institutions are sharing their successes and failures while ‘holding the hands’ of their mentees as they beign their long journey to shift their campus cultures.”

WSSU was chosen as a mentor because of its high student success rates. Through the program, WSSU is providing guidance and support to Savannah State University, Langston University, and University of Michigan-Flint to promote social mobility.

In addition to WSSU, selected institutions are: California State University, Channel Islands; Los Medanos College; Rutgers University, Newark; San Jacinto College; Santa Fe College; and University of South Florida.

FSS will continue to track the institutions working together toward reducing their equity gaps and changing the culture of their campuses. The lessons learned will be shared widely with practitioners and thought leaders in the field of higher education to shape the future of the student success movement for years to come. WSSU’s Office of the Provost is leading the initiative.

 

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

About the Foundation for Student Success

FSS was founded in 2016 and is housed at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) in Boulder, Colorado. The mission of FSS is to stimulate and support the use of predictive analytics and other emerging technologies to help institutions of higher education identify at-risk students and to develop interventions to increase their chances of success. To accomplish the mission of FSS, the Board has targeted three student populations: Black, Latino, and American Indian. The data FSS and NCHEMS gathered and analyzed on the success rates for these students indicates serious equity gaps across the country.