SUNY Old Westbury earns $2 million U.S. Department of Education Grant

U.S. Department of Education logo with the letters ED topped by a mortarboard

The State University of New York at Old Westbury today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the campus a $2 million grant. The funding will be used to increase student support services; increase faculty pedagogical development opportunities and thereby increase retention and graduation rates.

“Certain courses can be particularly difficult for some students, which is why we are solving this issue by uncovering innovative ways to boost support services,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson about the Old Westbury award. “SUNY has long benefitted from New York State funding and grants to ramp up resources to help our students, and we are pleased that Old Westbury will be able to provide additional support through the recent U.S. Department of Education award. We will continue to seek out additional federal funding to expand this effort so more students can benefit from this proven program.”

“Ensuring student success is paramount for our campus,” said College President Calvin O. Butts, III. “By increasing access to academic support services and ensuring our faculty has the latest information to inform their instruction, we are confident we can improve beyond the already valuable experience SUNY Old Westbury provides its students.”

Activities supported through the Title III: Strengthening Institutions grant program will include peer tutoring, proactive advising, support for the faculty-focused Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and, importantly, an expansion of initiatives developed at the College to improve sophomore retention.   

“The sophomore year is a challenging year in college,” said Barbara Hillery, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences who along with Assistant Dean Cris Notaro will serve as the grant’s project directors. “Our campus provides phenomenal support for first-year students, but they often come back the following fall and are left to find their own way.  Through this work, we will better position the College to show them the way.”

SUNY Old Westbury will work through the grant to address this transitional problem by building upon existing first year programs and complementing the variety of activities and programs already in place to promote student success across the student body. Overall, through the campus’ proposed effort, titled “Ensuring Student Success,” the objective for Old Westbury is to achieve a five-percentage point increase in sophomore retention rates and a three-point increase in graduation rates.

Strengthening Institutions Program grants provide funds to improve and strengthen an institution's academic quality.  Funds may be used for planning, faculty development, and the development and improvement of academic programs.