Drew lands $500K COVID grant to help students get back on track

Drew University. Photo by Louise Witt
Drew University. Photo by Louise Witt


From Drew University:

Drew University Receives $500,000 Grant in Federal COVID-19 Funding
Governor Phil Murphy announced allocation of funds to support college students


 On Monday, July 13, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges announced the allocation of $500,000 in federal funding to Drew University in support of COVID-19’s effects on college students.

The state’s funding—part of nearly $30 million awarded to 35 institutions across New Jersey—will invest in college students, particularly those most affected by the pandemic.

Institutions receiving funding will, “implement vetted best practices that increase college completion, address barriers to student success, and develop sustainable systemic reforms,” according to a press release from Gov. Murphy’s office.

The bulk of the near $30 million dispersed throughout the state supports the new Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge (OMIC), a grant program aimed at the long-term resiliency of New Jersey universities.

Per Drew’s grant application, the school will use the funding to create the Drew Student Success Program (DSSP), a multi-pronged, holistic approach to onboarding first-year and transfer students prior to their first semester and supporting them throughout their years on campus.

“This program will provide guided academic support services and strengthen a sense of belonging and engagement for this unique group of students,” said Drew University Interim President Tom Schwarz.

“We want to see them flourish academically, stay in college, and have on-campus and off-campus career-related experiences that prepare them to join the workforce in their chosen careers.”

The incoming student portion of the program will:

  • acquaint the students with on-campus resources and opportunities
  • proactively foster a sense of community and belonging among the students
  • create new assessment measures to gauge the program’s and students’ success
  • introduce one-on-one meetings with advisors to help guide course selection and ensure that support services are in place from the beginning of the semester, rather than after a need for these services has been identified
  • ensure a new staff adviser will focus on these students’ academic pathways and career plans, and engage with them regularly throughout the year
  • expand loaner laptops access and assist in purchasing textbooks for the student textbook lending library
  • fund a professional-wear clothing closet for students
The DSSP will also address the larger student population by including an expansion of embedded tutoring and advising, as well as provide funding to support development and education for faculty and staff.

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  1. How is any of this a direct result of COVID? If Drew University does not already have the vast majority of these on-boarding programs in place, then they are severely deficient in their obligations to transition incoming students to a successful academic and on campus experience.