UAPB LIONS program receives boost to prepare students for college life

Walton Family Foundation approves 200,000 grant

main-photoPINE BLUFF, Ark. – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has received a two-year matching grant for $200,000 from the Walton Family Foundation to aid in funding the Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) program. The five-week program (July 7 – August 8) assists students admitted to UAPB for the fall semester who want to get a jump-start on their college career at UAPB. Participants receive academic tutoring and attend college orientation, academic and professional workshops, and personal and social success seminars for making a successful transition to college life. The grant funds will make it possible for successful applicants to receive a LIONS scholarship for tuition, fees and housing. A book award of up to $500 is also available to enrolled students.

“The Walton Family Foundation funds will allow UAPB to provide a summer enrichment opportunity to many Arkansas Delta students who would not have had that opportunity because of their economic circumstances,” said Dr. Linda L. Okiror, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management. “Students attending the LIONS program get a jump start on their college careers and gain from the social, personal and professions support of the LIONS staff.”

Since 2008, 139 students have participated in the LIONS Program with a fall semester enrollment rate of 97.1%. LIONS participants complete their foundation courses during the summer program and benefit from a set of experiences that contribute greatly to a more academically prepared, socially mature and knowledgeable first-year student. As a result of this intense college preparatory program, participants are retained at greater rate and graduate in fewer semesters than non-participating UAPB students.

”We are extremely pleased that the Walton Family Foundation supports the program,” said UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander. “The investment will aid the LIONS program in transitioning new students to UAPB. We want to be able to help assure the success of the next cohort of promising students.”

While the main goal of the LIONS Program is to assist academically promising students with their transition to collegiate coursework, a secondary focus is to establish a cohesive and bonded cohort of first-year students who identify with and seek support from each other, the Program staff and the University. These goals have long-term impacts for the advancement of education at UAPB and the broader community by increasing the enrollment of fall semester freshmen who are ready for the university-level experience, increasing the student retention and persistence, developing a cohort of college students with the necessary skills to tutor and mentor junior and senior high school students, shortening the time it takes students to complete the bachelor’s degree, increasing the number of students from the Arkansas Delta who earn a bachelor’s degree.

To apply to the program, visit www.uapb.edu/lionsprogram or call (870) 575-8362. To be eligible for the LIONS program, prospective participants must be admitted to UAPB.   Applicants should also apply for campus housing and complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the summer session of the 2014-2015 academic year.

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