More than 100 students will benefit this fall from the creation of the Bellows Grant, as part of Central Michigan University's strategic focus to help students succeed.
"The bottom line is we have to do more to support students who are facing overwhelming financial burdens," said Steven Johnson, vice president of Enrollment and Student Services. "The creation of these programs will help increase access to a CMU education and allow students to complete their degrees rather than having to drop out."
The majority of those who will benefit from the first year of the Bellows Grant are current students who have financial needs that threaten to derail their ability to finish earning their degree.
Named after CMU's first president, Charles Bellows, the new grant will be funded by a portion of the $14 million in proceeds received from the Federal Communications Commission broadcast spectrum auction of WCMU Public Media's Flint station, WCMZ-TV. Nearly all viewers in the WCMZ-TV service area will continue to have access to other PBS stations. Viewers also can access WCMU online and through some cable and satellite providers.
Other students receiving consideration for the grant include those enrolled in the Chippewa Achieve Program. A collaborative student success agreement between CMU and Mid Michigan Community College, the Chippewa Achieve Program is designed to support students who plan to transfer to CMU after completing two semesters at MMCC.
"These students had applied to CMU and showed tremendous promise for success here after a year of classes at MMCC," Johnson said. "This program allows them to be involved and integrated in student life before transferring to CMU their sophomore year."
Students in the Chippewa Achieve Program receive custom advising services and academic support to make sure they have all the tools and resources to be successful once they arrive for classes on campus.
While $7 million of the auction proceeds have been designated specifically for the Bellows Grant, the other $7 million also has been set aside to support student success at CMU.
Of that, $5 million will fund an initiative to expand academic advising starting at orientation and extending to alumni after graduation.
The remaining $2 million will support students in learning experiences through WCMU Public Media. While working alongside seasoned professionals, students will gain hands-on experience to succeed in broadcasting after college.
Details of the advising and learning experience program are still in development.