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Tuscarawas News Detail

Kent State Receives Funding to Support Student Retention and Improve Graduation Rates

Posted May. 16, 2013

Kent State University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has received funding, estimated at $80,000, from Ohio Campus Compact for two AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members who will support student retention at the university through the Connect2Complete program.

The Connect2Complete program is a college-student success initiative supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program seeks to improve student retention and graduation rates of low-income and underrepresented college students through a unique combination of peer advocacy and community engagement activities.

The two VISTA positions are full-time, yearlong terms, beginning July 2013. One member will support retention efforts at the Kent Campus and the other will develop retention programs for selected Kent State regional campuses. The VISTA members are expected to assist with the development and implementation of a new campus student-retention program based on a successful project model, recruit and train student peer advocates, help coordinate community engagement activities and more.

“We are excited to be considered as a host for this exceptional program,” said Shana Lee, site coordinator for the Connect2Complete program at Kent State and director of Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center. “We believe the Connect2Complete college program is a proven model that will strengthen the university’s efforts to support college completion for low-income and traditionally underserved students at the Kent Campus, as well as at selected regional campuses.”

Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion currently invests in and runs programs that serve low-income and underrepresented college students in order to foster their successful college transition and completion. The division plans to build momentum in this area with the help of the VISTA members.

“Though we have had success with our initiatives, we believe that more intentional, individualized models such as the Connect2Complete program can serve to enhance and support the completion and success of our students,” Lee said. “We hope that our VISTA members will use the Connect2Complete program model to help us reach out to this often underserved population to increase their persistence and eventual attainment of their chosen degree.”

For more information about Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

For more information about Campus Compact and its Connect2Complete program, visit


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Media Contacts:
Shana Lee,, 330-672-3560
Dana Lawless-Andric,, 330-672-1980
Bob Burford,, 330-672-8516