CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 30, 2014 – Several students are attending Southeast Missouri State University this fall thanks to financial awards they have received through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Freshman Breiona Catching of St. Louis is one of seven students attending Southeast this fall with the help of UNCF. She earned both the Cedric ‘the Entertainer’ and Ryan Howard Family Foundation Awards from UNCF, which she says have allowed her to attend Southeast.
“I am really enjoying Southeast. I love it. I have been getting involved with many organizations and I have a job, which is my first job ever, so I am very excited,” says Catching. “I am just extremely grateful that they selected me, and they have helped me tremendously.”
The United Negro College Fund is one of the nation’s largest minority education organizations. Since 1944, UNCF has helped more than 400,000 students earn scholarships to attend colleges throughout the nation. Since 2009, Southeast has partnered with the UNCF to provide scholarship opportunities for minority students. To date, 61 students have attended Southeast with the help of the UNCF, according to Trent Ball, associate dean of students
Students awarded UNCF scholarships become a part of the Academic Support Centers (ASC) at Southeast. Academic Support Centers provides students with resources they can use to succeed at the collegiate level.
“The partnership provides the College Access Partnership Award (CAP-A) that matches the scholarship they receive from UNCF; they (recipients) are assigned to work directly with an ASC staff member who provides assistance throughout their time at Southeast, in the form of bi-weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings to discuss grades, progress in their academic program, their financial aid and plans to cover successive semesters and referrals to other campus resources as needed,” said Ball.
Southeast’s partnership with UNCF is unique in that most UNCF funding is for students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).
“Our original partnership with UNCF began with our Southeast alumnus Cedric ‘The Entertainer’ Kyles,” said Ball. “His charitable foundation is connected to UNCF. Next, we began working with the Ryan Howard Family Foundation, also affiliated with UNCF. Southeast continued to build partnerships and UNCF worked with us to become an option for any student receiving a scholarship or award from UNCF offices in Missouri and Kansas.”
Students must remain in good standing with the University both academically and in student conduct as well as maintain a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average and earn a minimum of 24 credit hours a year. Students are also required to agree to a contract which details their responsibility of meeting with ASC staff, attending workshops on financial aid, seeking scholarships, career planning and major course review as well as completing a minimum of 30 hours of community service. Students who exceed these requirements are moved throughout ASC programs and can potentially earn higher awards.
“The goal of moving students into one of the other programs is to be able to bring new students in the next year. The majority of the students who enter Southeast with a UNCF award often earn higher awards than are granted in other programs,” Ball said. “They also have an outstanding success rate in terms of graduation.”