Milestone $4.2 Million in New Student Services, Tech and Research Support Coming to University

Texas A&M International University has secured federal and state grant funding totalling over $4.2 million, a milestone which will revolutionize the University's student services, technological range, ability to conduct important research and greatly enhance student recruitment and retention efforts, said University president Dr. Charles Jennett.

"This is a milestone for the University. These unprecedented awards will further accelerate the University's growth and move us closer to becoming the regional University of choice for Laredo and South Texas," said Dr. Jennett. "These awards help us to further leverage the support provided by our community which has assisted us greatly in the provision of student scholarships, program support and building construction," he noted.

The competitive awards include a 5-year Title V grant of $450,000 (totalling $2.25 million), a TRIO Student Support Services Grant of $760,000, and a $460,443 Department of Education award to support the University's Reading Research Center. All funding is from the U.S. Department of Education through the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994. The State of Texas has awarded the University a TIF (Texas Infrastructure Fund) Grant of $815,000.

All grants are complementary and support an impressive array of new services, services expansion, or important research, explained University provost and vice president Dr. Ray Keck.

"The Title V grant, which is the largest development grant awarded among the nation's 40 Hispanic-serving institutions, will fund four distinct areas: student advising, academic support services, enhanced student counseling including an on-line system for student-counselor interaction and the creation of a dedicated student writing center.

"The TRIO grant focuses on retention efforts for at-risk, low income, first-generation University and differently abled students through a rich, nurturing network of academic support, one-on-one counseling and targeted activities that encourage participation in the academic, social and cultural life of the institution.

"The U.S. Department of Education has funded the University's reading research initiative, the Reading Research Center, with a $460,443 award that will support research, pre-service and in-service teacher development and student evaluation to transform linguistically and culturally diverse fourth grade students from throughout the Laredo area from non-readers to skilled readers.

"The State-funded TIF grant strengthens our technological abilities by supporting the establishment of a wireless wide area network between the University and various high schools in our service region. This will expand higher education opportunities, using spread spectrum technology to allow a wireless linkage between the University and school districts to support programs for delivery of University-level credit classes and professional development or certification for teachers," said Keck.

The new initiatives will also offer additional employment opportunities at the University, especially in student counseling and student services areas, Dr. Jennett noted.

"We're going to be looking for great people who are committed to great students that are part of a great University," he said.

Dr. Keck noted that having successfully secured both Title V and TRIO grants also greatly enhances the University's future grant proposals.

"This sends forth a loud and positive message about A&M International, confers a recognition of excellence, and makes our future grant proposals more competitive than in the past," Keck said.

Jennett described the funding support as a milestone in the University's evolution. He lauded the teamwork spirit that he said typifies the University's faculty and staff.

"We have been long blessed by the strong support of our State Legislature and the profound support of our community. Successfully securing funding support like these Title V, TRIO and TIF grants provide important complements to this and attest to our aggressive interest in seeking additional support. Our faculty and staff worked diligently to secure these awards and the result is a very exciting, new day for us all. It's truly a milestone in the University's evolution," he said.

For additional information on the University's Title V, TRIO or TIF grants, please contact the Office for Institutional Advancement at 326.2175, visit offices located in Killam Library 262 or email scasasnovas@tamiu.edu


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