CSU–Pueblo receives Wal-Mart Minority Student Success Award

Colorado State University-Pueblo has been selected by the Institute for Higher Education Policy to receive a Wal-Mart Minority Student Success Award—a $100,000 grant to help build on the University’s demonstrated successes in enrolling, retaining, and graduating first-generation college students. CSU-Pueblo was one of only 15 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) selected through a highly competitive application process to strengthen efforts to support first-generation students.

“CSU-Pueblo is honored to be selected as one of just several outstanding higher education institutions nationwide to receive the Wal-Mart Minority Student Success Award,” said President Joseph Garcia. “Thanks in large part to this award, we will be able to enhance and expand our work with first-generation students.”

The grant will enable faculty and staff at CSU-Pueblo to offer supplemental instruction, tutoring, and faculty/student mentoring as well as focused orientation activities to help first-generation families understand the challenges and rewards of pursuing a college education. Moreover, advising staff will create a focused advising agenda to assist in the academic success and retention of first-generation, minority students. CSU Pueblo also will institute a faculty development program to improve faculty understanding and use of the pedagogical practices important to the academic success of first- generation students. Faculty—with support from academically successful upper class first-generation students—will also mentor undergraduate first-generation, minority students enrolled in developmental reading, math, and English as well as introductory courses in the sciences and mathematics (biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and college algebra—the courses with the highest failure rates for first-generation students.

Approximately 41 percent of students enrolled at MSIs are first-generation, compared to 30 percent of students at predominately white institutions. Because of their overrepresentation of first-generation students, MSIs are ideally situated to improve retention and persistence gaps for these students.

First Year Center Director Dr. Derek Lopez and Dr. Erin Frew, interim assistant provost for assessment and student learning, will lead the grant activities. Others on the team are Dr. Carol Langer (Chair, Social Work), Brenda Trujillo-Aranda (Director of the Student Support Services TRIO program), and Himon Robles (undergraduate student in Social Work). The $100,000 award will be spread over three years.

“We are excited to be working with such a diverse group of minority-serving institutions focused on improving the success of this critical student group,” said IHEP president Michelle Asha Cooper. “Their planned initiatives demonstrate a long-term commitment to first generation student success that builds on their well-established mission to retain and graduate underserved student populations.”

“The Wal-Mart Foundation is committed to helping our nation’s young adults live better – supporting programs that provide access to higher education is a key part of our commitment,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “We are confident that our partnership with the Institute for Higher Education Policy and minority-serving institutions will positively impact many first-generation college students and assure their academic success.

The Wal-Mart College Success Awards program is administered by the Institute for Higher Education Policy and made possible by a generous $4.2 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. The 14 other winners include Bennett College for Women (NC); California State University-Fresno; Claflin University (SC); Florida International University; La Guardia Community College (NY); Mount St. Mary’s College (CA); Navajo Technical College (NM); Norfolk State University (VA); Northwest Indian College (WA); Salish Kootenai College (MT); Spelman College (GA); Tennessee State University; University of the District of Columbia; and University of the Incarnate Word (TX).

IHEP will select a second cohort of Wal-Mart Minority Student Success institutions in spring 2010. For more information about the initiative and grantees, visit the IHEP website at http://www.ihep.org/walmartminoritystudents.cfm.

About The Institute for Higher Education Policy
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is an independent, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to increasing access and success in postsecondary education around the world. Established in 1993, the Washington, D.C.-based organization uses unique research and innovative programs to inform key decision makers who shape public policy and support economic and social development. IHEP’s web site, www.Ihep.org, features an expansive collection of higher education information available free of charge and provides access to some of the most respected professionals in the fields of public policy and research.

About Philanthropy at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Wal-Mart – and its domestic and international Foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.