Senator Stabenow Applauds Selection of Kalamazoo and Alma Colleges for National Higher Education Program

Thursday, January 16, 2014

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today applauded the selection of Kalamazoo College and Alma College for participation in a national higher education program to help increase access to college for low-income students. The national announcement by the President and First Lady today is part of a broad national initiative to help low-income and first-generation students attend and graduate from college.

"Today's announcement by the President and First Lady is fantastic news for Michigan," Stabenow said. "Kalamazoo College and Alma College were selected because they are already leading with great programs that help students get to college and graduate. In today's global economy, it is more critical than ever that people can get the skills they need to succeed. Every American who wants to work hard and attend college should have the opportunity to do so, and these two great Michigan schools are helping ensure that's the case."

Kalamazoo College's participation in the new program will include working to increase enrollment of students from community colleges and improving the four-year graduation rate among first-generation college students. In addition to working more closely with community colleges to increase transfer rates, Kalamazoo College will work to ensure there are no significant differences in the graduation rates of first-generation and Pell-eligible students when compared to other student groups. This builds on Kalamazoo College's existing efforts to support first-generation college students, including student and family welcome events, skill/competence building, and connection with other successful first-generation students. Kalamazoo College also currently has a program that helps students cover the costs associated with unpaid internships that can provide valuable learning and networking opportunities.

Alma College's participation will include developing campus communities for low-income students and admitting between five and ten additional students from the Detroit Edison Public School Academy for the 2014-15 school year. These students will meet twice weekly for study groups and will meet for a week before the term starts to participate in workshops designed to address issues commonly encountered by low-income students. This builds on Alma's Opportunities and Connections program, which is part of the state-wide King-Chaves-Parks program, which provides support for low-income students to attend college and earn their degrees. Alma is the first, and only, small liberal arts school that is part of the Kings-Chaves-Parks program.