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Lyon receives grant funding, initiatives begin
Lyon College will receive more than $3 million via the United States Department of Education’s “Title III” program to strengthen institutions. The College recently learned only six institutions in the nation are to receive “Title III, Part F” funding, and Lyon has the distinction of being the only private college among them.
Lyon College has a long history of providing quality higher education to a student population that is primarily (80%) Arkansan. Nearly half are eligible for federal aid, and about a third are the first members of their families to ever pursue higher education. Dollars from this federal grant will help the College initiate and expand existing services to provide the support students from these backgrounds need in order to persist to graduation.
The College will use the grant to immediately expand and further develop its successful Supplemental Instruction program, which provides peer-to-peer support for students in classes with historically high failure rates. In this unique program, students who have taken the class previously and done well are asked to take the class again, this time helping their peers learn how to study for that subject and providing out-of-class tutoring opportunities. With this grant, the program will have funding to support additional classes and to develop innovative approaches.
“The grant will help support our further development of such programs as freshman seminar supporting college success, and it will underwrite faculty travel to conferences and participation in on-campus workshops on pedagogy and best practices with low-income, first-generation students,” explained Dr. Virginia Wray, Vice President for Academic Services and Dean of the Faculty.
“Lyon is committed to Arkansas achieving Governor Mike Beebe’s goal of doubling college attainment by 2025. The first step in higher graduation and achievement rates is retention” said Wray. In addition to program improvements, the grant will enable Lyon to hire professionals in student retention, institutional research, and student engagement. The new staff will lead activities and programs to increase retention, student engagement and data-based decision-making.
Lyon also will join John Gardner Institute’s “Foundations of Excellence” program. Through this program, the College will build an action plan to increase student success, retention and, ultimately, completion rates.
Additionally, the Title III grant will help fund a scholarship endowment for low income, first generation students. “The grant will match every dollar the College raises for scholarship endowment -- up to $125,000 a year,” explained Mr. Jon Vestal, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Lyon College. “At the end of the five-year grant period, Lyon will have an additional $1.3 million endowment to help support our students who need it most. I am confident that Lyon alumni and supporters will rise to the challenge.”
The Title III grant budget period began October 1, 2013 and will conclude September 30, 2018.