Kaler unveils plan to retain low-income students

The initiative, presented at a White House event Thursday, is meant to improve first-year retention rates.

by Meghan Holden

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler unveiled a plan Thursday to improve first-year retention rates of low-income University students.

He presented the initiative, Retaining all Our Students, at a White House college opportunity summit hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The event included other college and university presidents and community leaders.

Retaining all Our Students, which is expected to be fully implemented by fall 2016, will focus on financial literacy, summer programs, increased advising and peer tutoring for Pell grant recipients, according to a University news release.

The Pell grant is the largest federal need-based grant program. In 2012, nearly 12,000 University undergraduates received it, according to the Office of Institutional Research.

The first-year retention rate for Pell grant recipients is slightly less than 87 percent — about three percent lower than the rate for all incoming freshmen, according the news release.

“The University of Minnesota is committed to paving the road to prosperity for young people with limited means,” Kaler said in the release. “We’re all in. We intend to lower the barriers for low-income students to attend the U and obtain their degrees. This is about changing their lives by helping to set their career paths in motion.”