Bemidji State Pilots $580,000 SUCCESS Grant Program Through Minnesota State

The Bemidji State University Archway

The Bemidji State University Archway

Bemidji State University was recently selected as one of four institutions within the Minnesota State System of Colleges and Universities to pilot a $580,000 grant program to design comprehensive student support programs and improve completion rates, specifically in underrepresented student populations.

The grant program, titled Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success, is funded through a partnership between the Minnesota System of Colleges and Universities and MDRC, a non-profit research organization that leads the SUCCESS network. Dispersed over a three-year period, the funding will build BSU’s current Beaver Success Coach program to support proactive advising, student awards and the consolidation of existing campus, system or state resources. Launched in Fall 2015, the Beaver Success Coach program provides one-on-one attention and guidance to students during their time at BSU.

Zak Johnson, director of the Advising Success Center, and Margie Giauque, director of Career Services, said the SUCCESS grant will allow BSU to continue efforts to reduce the education equity gap and move Minnesota State toward the Equity 2030 goal.

“Our target group would include first-generation college students, underrepresented students such as American Indian students and other students of color and those of low socioeconomic status,” he said. “Essentially this program will allow BSU, through new positions funded by the grant, to provide regular support to underrepresented students through a strong and successful mentorship program which will include regular meetings, academic program guidance, referrals to student services as needed and financial support.”

The SUCCESS program model is currently being implemented in four states – Ohio, Indiana, California and New Jersey – and beginning in Fall 2020, the pilot colleges and universities will receive support to implement the SUCCESS model on campus. BSU’s Advising Success Center and Career Services will, together, participate in a program design and technical assistance session to launch, pilot, refine and expand the new SUCCESS program.

In line with the approximate project timeline, beginning Fall 2021 Bemidji State will begin implementing small-scale SUCCESS programming to a cohort of at least 100 students, with new cohorts beginning each fall until 2023.