CIC, UPS Partner on Diversity Initiatives with State Councils; Funds Will Support Student Access and Success

The UPS Foundation awarded CIC a $100,000 grant in July to support the First Opportunity Partners program, which aims to expand college access and success for first-generation, low-income, and minority students at independent colleges and universities. These competitive grants to CIC State Councils fund multi-college projects, with project leadership and matching funds provided by State Councils.

In October, CIC selected the projects of four State Councils for funding during the 2019–2020 academic year.

  • The Independent College Fund of New Jersey will provide first- and second-year students from educationally and economically challenged backgrounds with professional development opportunities to prepare them for internships, apprenticeships, and experiential learning opportunities that can bridge the gap to post-graduate employment. The project, Building Talent Pathways, aims to build skills, generate confidence in career choices, and promote career placement. It will combine online training with campus-based coaching sessions and presentations by staff from New Jersey’s Educational Opportunities Fund and corporate executives. Students who complete the program will qualify to participate in a paid outreach program to high school students from a similar demographic background.
  • Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) will develop the Fulfilling the Promise initiative to improve persistence and degree attainment rates among students who are part of the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program. (Through an agreement formed in 2014, MCA members are the only private institutions eligible to receive Kalamazoo Promise scholarship funds.) Nearly 200 students at MCA’s 14 member campuses receive these scholarships, and of these students, nearly 55 percent are from low-income families, 62 percent are minority students, and 42 percent need math remediation courses in college. The Fulfilling the Promise project will create “smart classrooms” and a cross-campus mentoring system to bolster the success of first-year Kalamazoo Promise students at MCA institutions.
  • Minnesota Private College Fund (MPCF) will extend admission outreach efforts to first-generation students, students of color, and Native American students through new videos that will incorporate authentic voices of individuals from all backgrounds and perspectives. The videos will focus on themes such as “affording private colleges,” “thinking early—why college?” and “thinking early—why private colleges?” MPCF will distribute the videos to member institutions, use them at MPCF admission events as part of MPCF’s marketing of Minnesota Private College Week, and incorporate them into social media advertising.
  • North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) will create a Minority Male Mentoring Program designed to increase persistence, retention, and graduation rates among minority male students at ten NCICU member colleges. The project will focus on mentoring and coaching programs for first- and second-year African American, Latino, and Native American male students with undecided majors. In addition, at least 75 percent of the student participants on each campus must qualify for need-based financial aid. NCICU drew on data from the National Survey of Student Engagement and successful practices from fellow CIC State Council member Minnesota Private College Fund to identify needed student services and proven approaches for engaging minority male students.

View more information about CIC’s State Councils grant programs or contact Carol Schuler, vice president for State Council programs, at