Marian University Receives Grant for New Retention Initiative

by Katie Bradley | Sep 04, 2014

Marian University and the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities (AFCU) have received a $100,000 grant from USA Funds for a new initiative aimed at increasing retention and graduation rates.  

This new initiative, “Stopping the Leak in the Educational Pipeline: Improving Matriculation and Graduation Rates at Franciscan Colleges and Universities,” will see Marian University and AFCU join and work closely with student success experts to develop an extended and integrated program of systems, processes, and training designed to improve retention and graduation rates for all students with a special emphasis on at-risk students.

“The Marian University community has been focused on student success throughout our history. Now, using new and innovative approaches, we are achieving tremendous results in increasing retention, graduation rates, and graduate school enrollment upon graduation,” said Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener. “We are most appreciative of USA Funds’ investment in our leadership role in this effort. Furthermore, our collaboration with the Franciscan universities across the country will bring even greater innovation to these efforts on a larger scale.”

Marian University will serve as the lead agent for the grant and there will be a steering committee comprised of Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities board member presidents, who will make administrative decisions and provide overall leadership. The Steering Committee includes:

  • Daniel J. Elsener, president of Marian University (Chair)
  • Thomas Flynn, Ph.D., president of Alvernia University
  • Robert Gervasi, Ph.D., president of Quincy University
  • Arvid Johnson, Ph.D., president of University of St. Francis
  • Rosalie Mirenda, Ph.D., president of Neumann University
  • Anne Prisco, Ph.D., president of Felician College
  • Gary Maciag, OFM, executive director of Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities
  • Deborah Lawrence, vice president for administration and general counsel at Marian University
  • Kristie Johnson, director of grants management at Marian University

After research is completed and best practices are established at Marian University, the university plans to assist other AFCU member institutions in implementing these keys to success for their students.

In the past, Marian University has worked closely and successfully with USA Funds on program support for initiatives like the 21st Century Scholars Program. Since the partnership began, Marian University has developed and managed a 21st Century Scholars Program that supports some of the state’s most at-risk students and has a retention rate higher than that of traditional students.  

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