FGCU receives $1.2 million grant


EN Photo / Rachel Iacovone

FGCU has been awarded a $1.2 million Talent Search grant by the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant, a five-year award that will fund activities to help middle and high school students from disadvantaged homes experience higher education, will allow about 500 students from four Lee County schools to participate in activities coordinated by FGCU staff members.

The application for the grant opened on Dec. 22, 2015 and closed on Feb. 5, 2016.

“This is a grant we have been working on for over a year,” said Dolores Kiesler, the assistant dean for SSS and Outreach Programs at FGCU, in a press release. “The grant will allow us to reach 500 more students in Lee County Schools who are in need of this assistance and support to dream of college and make it a reality.”

Students from Dunbar High School, Dunbar Middle School, East Lee High School and Lehigh Acres Middle School will take part in various activities designed to provide tutoring, advising, career and college exploration, preparation for entrance exams as well as development skills.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, the goal of the grant is to “increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.”

Institutions of higher education, public and private agencies and community-based organizations and agencies are eligible to apply. Students between the ages of 11 and 27 who have completed the fifth grade are eligible to participate in activities held with grant money. In each activity, two-thirds of the participants must be low-income and potential first-generation college students.

Talent Search grants are funded every four years, and programs are funded for five-year cycles.

Grant activities will also focus on providing guidance for parents and guardians of students participating.

FGCU staff members will be coordinating the activities that will be held at the participating schools.

Along with the Talent Search grant, FGCU also hosts two other federally funded TRIO program grants, STEM and Classic as well as the Florida Department of Education’s College Reach Out Program and a local Scholars Program that serves 1,000 students through grades fourth through 12.

“We are one of the three state universities in Florida to have the Talent Search grant,” Dean of Students Michele Yovanovich said in a press release. “It is a point of pride for FGCU, but more importantly, this addition of services to the region continues our important work of transforming students’ lives through higher education.”