NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) - Tennessee
State University has been awarded a $900,000 grant by the NCAA to develop
enhancements to increase student-athletes' academic performance.
TSU is among six
institutions to receive the grant.
The other schools receiving a $900,000 grant are California State University at
Northridge, Coppin State University and Jackson State University. Morehead
State University will receive $360,000 and Norfolk State University will
The grant, to be
disbursed over three years - in $300,000 installments - is part of a $4.365
million program to help Division I schools in the Football Championship
Subdivision(FCS), identified as "limited-resource" institutions, meet NCAA
Academic Performance Program (APP) standards.
According to the
NCAA, Division I institutions in the bottom 10 percent of resources as
determined by per capita institutional expenditures, athletics department
funding and Pell Grant aid were eligible to apply for the program.
provides TSU an opportunity to expand its Complete College Tennessee Act
activities to ensure that needed extra services are available to our
student-athletes, who because they are constantly on the road, are not always
available to take full advantage of our services," said President Portia Holmes
With the emphasis
of improving the graduation rate among student-athletes, the NCAA aims to help
schools develop sustainable plans to ensure that all teams meet the 930 APR
benchmark, which goes into effect in 2016-17 for limited-resource institutions.
TSU currently has a 67 percent graduation rate for student-athletes. The APR
benchmark focuses on improving the eligibility and retention of
As a requirement,
institutions receiving the NCAA grant must develop enhancements such as summer
bridge programs, financial aid for summer school, funding additional staff, as
well as improving facilities and technology for student-athletes.
plans to use the funds to enhance already existing student success programs
such as the Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate summer programs, which have
shown positive retention rate among students, including student-athletes. The
programs provide mentoring and monitor participants' progress for at least two
years to make sure students have access to tutoring, advising, counseling and
"This grant will
help us to ensure that these enhancements are available to student-athletes at
all times, including having mentors and tutors accompany student-athletes as
they travel," Dr. Shields said.
The Director of
Athletics, Teresa Phillips, referred to the NCAA grant as a "huge enhancement
for academic support for our student-athletes."
"There are so
many challenges with retaining and graduating student-athletes within the APR
expectation that a great deal of attention has to be paid to student services,"
Phillips said. "With this grant and the support of the University, we will be
able to provide the needed services to meet our benchmark of increasing
student-athletes' graduation rate."
The grant is the
result of a proposal put together by the athletics department with input from
several individuals, according to Dr. Shields.
"We are thankful
for the hard work of our athletics department and several individuals without
whose help this grant would not have been possible," she said. "Specifically, I
would like to thank Teresa Phillips, Director of Athletics; Dr. John Cade,
Associate Provost; Dr. Gretha Burch-Sims, Director of Institutional
Effectiveness; Dr. Celeste Williams, Faculty Athletic Representative; Valencia
Jordan, Senior Women Administrator; Dr. Johnnie Smith, Associate AD for
Academics; and Jennifer Bell, Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance."
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