MSU to help increase student success in Grand Rapids

Posted at 12:54 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 12:54:26-05

Michigan State University has joined a Grand Rapids-area community initiative to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups entering and graduating from Michigan colleges.

To College, Through College is a collaboration between the city of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Schools and 10 higher education institutions across the state. The goal is to increase college enrollment and graduation for all Grand Rapids-area students, but particularly for first generation students and people of color. To reach this goal, the initiative offers a variety of services, including financial assistance, scholarships and one-on-one support to guide students to college admittance and through degree attainment. These services are offered at the T2C Studio in the main Grand Rapids Public Library.

“Joining the TCTC initiative extends our connection in Grand Rapids to increase the pipeline of successful undergraduate students,” said R. Sekhar Chivukula, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies. “The commitment builds upon our dedication to the learning and graduation success of all of our students. It will be accomplished in collaboration with our unique Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, which provides holistic academic, health and wellness, residential and intercultural support to all undergraduate students.”

TCTC is working hand-in-hand with community partners to increase the number of Grand Rapids Public Schools students who earn a college degree from 18 percent to 40 percent.

“One of our city’s top priorities is to address inequitable access to opportunities,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn BIiss. “To College, Through College is an important part of our efforts to increase equity in our community. We are incredibly grateful to MSU and the other partners that have joined us in investing in our community’s children so they can be successful.”

The initiative is unique by bringing together city government, public schools and a wide variety of higher education institutions. The partnership with MSU stems from the university’s land grant commitment to serve the state of Michigan, Chivukula said.

“We hope to create more cooperative agreements similar to this one in the future,” he said. “We will soon be working with partners in Detroit to establish the Detroit Scholars Program, the funding for which comes from a generous gift made by Dan Gilbert, MSU alum and his family.”

Grand Rapids is home to MSU’s Grand Rapids Research Center, which will open in late 2017 and support 44 research teams working to find answers in autism, cancer, genetics, pediatric neurology, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and women’s health, among other critical health areas.

In addition to MSU, other higher education institutions partnering with TCTC are: Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Northwood University and Western Michigan University.