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College of Education Receives $8.4 million to Serve Underrepresented Students

By: Brady W Moore   Published 3:26 pm / November 28, 2017

The Center for Multicultural Education Opportunities (CMEO) in the College of Education has received more than $8.4 million to extend existing and new programs for the next five years.

Photo of CMEO students together.

From left to right: Marianna Cervantes, Upward Bound Borah High School; Chandra Adhikari, McNair Scholar; Alex Mwibey, Upward Bound Borah High School; Lesa Bolts-Krick, Veterans Upward Bound/ retired Navy; Cierra Abellera, McNair Scholar

CMEO houses 10 TRIO programs and two Migrant Education programs funded by the US Department of Education. The new funds were awarded in three TRIO program competitions that include Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Programs.

The Upward Bound programs awarded will work with low-income and first-generation high school students in Boise and surrounding communities to provide services to increase high school graduation rates and university completion. The Veterans Upward Bound program will serve veterans by helping them gain needed skills in core subject areas with the goal of enrolling in college courses and graduating. The McNair Program will provide services to students from low-income, first generation and/or underrepresented minority backgrounds, guiding them as they prepare for graduate school. This preparation includes application to graduate schools, writing, GRE, guided research with faculty mentors and presentations of their research.

“The programs funded by these grants represent some of our university’s best efforts to provide support mechanisms for students in gaining access to new educational opportunities” said Rich Osguthorpe, dean of the College of Education. “These programs also display the power of community partnerships in realizing the Idaho State Board of Education’s goal of increasing the number of Idaho students who obtain a postsecondary degree or credential.”

“Our programs serve hundreds upon hundreds of students every year providing them opportunities that they would otherwise not receive” said Greg Martinez, director of CMEO. “These educational opportunities are recognized by our students through their tremendous accomplishments. Our programs get the privilege of tapping into the intelligence, talent and creativity of students that just need a chance to utilize our programs to realize their dreams.”

The four Upward Bound programs have consistently met their objectives averaging a 99.5 percent graduation and retention rate, 95 percent graduation rate among participants enrolled in rigorous programs, and a 79 percent postsecondary enrollment rate for participants coming from predominantly low-income and first generation backgrounds.

The McNair Scholars program consistently has averaged an approximately 80 percent success rate in graduate programs. Nearly 50 percent of the students who earned research Ph.D.s from Boise State in the last 10 years from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds were participants in the McNair Program. In 2016-17, 92 percent of the McNair graduates were accepted into graduate programs and 73 percent of those were accepted into fully funded Ph.D. programs throughout the U.S.

Veterans Upward Bound has continually met its objectives. The program served 125 veterans in 2015-16, and they achieved an 85 percent retention and completion rate, and 82 percent enrolled in postsecondary education.