In March 2005, the MELMAC Education Foundation announced a major new initiative Support Early Success In College with $3.4 million over seven years in grants to eighteen Maine colleges. The initiative funds college student retention programs to increase the number of students who persist in college and graduate. Thirteen four-year institutions will each receive $225,000 over six years to promote these student retention programs. Three two-year institutions will each receive $150,000 over four years. Two select colleges, Bates College and Maine Maritime Academy, will receive a special one-time Strategic Focus Grant of $10,000 each to support targeted research and analysis of how to retain the relatively small number of students who do not complete their degree. Some institutions may also receive a planning grant of $6,000 for up to one year of planning prior to implementation of their student retention effort and full multi-year implementation grant.
The goal of the Support Early Success In College initiative is to raise Maine’s college graduation rate 17% by 2012. Currently in Maine, 57.5% of first-time, full-time students graduate from 4-year colleges within six years; and 40% of first-time, full-time students graduate from 2-year colleges within three years. These rates are above the national averages for both types of institutions. The MELMAC Education Foundation grants will allow Maine colleges to implement strategies to increase their graduation rates.
Anyone interested in a particular college’s retention and graduation can visit CollegeResults.org, sponsored by the Education Trust, to see rates by year, age, gender and compare a college to peer institutions around the country.
Over thirty colleges in Maine which were eligible to receive funds as part of this initiative, of these public and private, non-profit two and four year institutions, the Foundation awarded grants to 18 institutions, reaching 80% of the Maine college student population.
For more about MELMAC college awards, visit the College Awards page.