Northwestern Awarded Over $2 Million Federal Grant to Boost Student Success

October 13, 2021

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is proud to announce it has been awarded an over $2 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Strengthening Institutions Program.

The U.S. Department of Education Title III – SIP grant is designed to help higher education institutions expand their capacity to serve at-risk students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability.

Northwestern will use these funds to enhance the programs, people and facilities needed to provide comprehensive career preparation for students from their first day on campus through graduation.

“We are proud to receive this grant and excited to use these resources for our students,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “This program will help empower first-time full-time students with tools they need to succeed in college and direct them toward a career path. As enrollment and retention continue to be topics of conversation in the education industry, receiving this grant will help Northwestern in both of those areas.”

More specifically, Northwestern’s Title III Leadership, Academic Success, and Superior Outcomes (LASSO): Enhancing Student Success, Engagement, and Purpose-Driven Education grant will provide first-time-full-time and at-risk students with the resources and knowledge to increase retention and, ultimately, graduation rates.

Program participants will receive personalized student coaching and advising, attend a new and improved First-Year Experience course, and receive enhanced career counseling. Career counseling will assist students to identify an educational purpose and its connection to future career paths and help them declare a major earlier in their academic career. These two factors are known to improve academic success. LASSO will also provide professional development to faculty and staff to improve student retention rates and overall student success.

Tandy Keenan, director of sponsored programs, acted as a key figure in the development of the grant proposal.

“I am so pleased to have played a vital role in acquiring the Title III SIP LASSO Project funding,” Keenan said. “The program will enhance student resources and knowledge, including student coaching and enhanced career exploration, essential for student success. The stair-step process focuses on retention, early career choice/major declaration, and graduation while preparing students for a worthwhile career.”


Erin Davis, University Relations Specialist; 580-327-8480

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-1700

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