(Marshall, Texas) Wiley College has been selected to receive a grant from USA Funds to develop  and apply data tools and campus-wide practices to enhance college completion rates and career readiness of its students. Wiley is one of seven colleges and universities tapped, through a competitive process that included a review of their proposals by outside evaluators, to share a $2.3 million grant award to take part in USA Funds’ three-year project targeting first-generation, low-income students on minority-serving campuses. Wiley’s grant award is $350,000. Other institutions selected for the project are Harris-Stowe State University,Martin University, Miami Dade College, St. Thomas University, Salish Kootenai College, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Called the MSI  Measuring College Value Initiative, the project’s goal is to support two-year and four-year colleges and universities in measuring the value of their programs, improving student outcomes, and developing programming that can serve as models for the higher education community as its institutions devise similar projects to increase college completion rates and boost career readiness of the students on their campuses.

“The resources provided by USA Funds will undergird and strengthen our ongoing work to produce graduates who will enter the workforce ready to compete, lead and achieve their career goals,” said Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, President and CEO of Wiley College. “Our top priority at Wiley College is furthering our legacy of excellence as the place where every student can succeed.”

Wiley will use the grant funding to integrate data to track and intervene strategically to promote early college success, persistence, completion, and meaningful outcomes of graduates.

“As college completion rates and employment outcomes for black, Hispanic and Native American students continue to lag, these colleges are well-positioned to improve these results, applying data-informed solutions to enhance the value they deliver to students,” said Lorenzo L. Esters, USA Funds’ Vice President, Philanthropy. “If our nation is to continue to prosper, all segments of our population must be equipped with the skills to participate fully in the workforce and in the communities in which they live.”

As part of the initiative, Wiley and all the participating colleges and universities will get help from a designated “data coach,” who will assist in the creation of user-friendly, customized data tools. Every school will designate an “innovation group,” to include its chief academic affairs officer, an institutional research staff member, a faculty representative, and one employer-partner. These innovation groups will participate in an annual meeting to share best practices and foster collaboration between leadership and faculty among the seven participating colleges and universities.

Wiley’s grant project will complement its student success initiative, including its current focus on developing guided pathways for all students, in keeping with USA Funds’ major priority to ensure “college completion with a purpose.”

About Wiley College

Wiley College is a historically black, primarily liberal arts institution of higher learning that was founded by the Freedman’s Aid Society in 1873 to train teachers for careers in African-American elementary and secondary schools. Today, Wiley College has a focused curriculum that includes fifteen distinct degree programs. Wiley is affiliated with the  United Methodist Church and the United Negro College Fund.

About USA Funds

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion with a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more at www.usafunds.org


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