Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff has announced a $2.7 million grant from the Helios Education Foundation to help students transition to college and graduate prepared to succeed in life and a career.
The grant will support the Yuma Educational Success (YES) program, a collaborative effort between NAU, Arizona Western College in Yuma, and the Yuma Union High School District to support the enrollment and retention of Yuma high school graduates at and between AWC and NAU. Building on existing efforts, including the school district's Ready Now Yuma program — also funded by Helios — and the foundation's College Knowing and Going Initiative, which work to create college-going cultures and increase the number of students attending and succeeding in college, the YES program is aimed at increasing students' use of support and academic services, boosting their GPAs, and improving transfer rates.
The program will include a two-week summer bridge program designed to facilitate students' transition from high school to college; coordinated support services, academic advising, and mentoring; inclusive and integrated academic support; enhanced learning experiences such as internships; and scholarships. The initiative hopes to serve two hundred students a semester, with a focus on low-income, first-generation minority students.
"Increased access to higher education and alignment to the workforce needs of our state are embedded in NAU's mission, and student success and access is at the center of everything we do," said NAU president Rita Cheng. "I am grateful for our partnership with the Helios Education Foundation, Arizona Western College, and the Yuma Union High School District as we work together to provide the essential academic and student support services that will prepare first-generation and underrepresented students for success. Together, our collaboration will ensure students in the Yuma region can complete a degree prepared for a job, enhancing their lives and the economy of our state."