Student center

VCU receives $2 million grant to expand First Generation Student Center – VCU News

Virginia Commonwealth University has received a nearly $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand its You First First Generation Student Success and Research Center at VCU. The five-year grant will increase the university’s ability to support Asian and Pacific Islander American students through culturally competent student programs, student support and engagement, and student development and faculty research.

Based on its enrollment and commitment to AAPI students, VCU was named a Minority Serving Institution earlier this year, allowing access to federal grant programs only available to institutions with the MSI designation. The DOE grant will allow the You First Center to design programs for these students that will increase their sense of belonging, academic achievement, retention, and graduation rates.

Research shows that stereotypes present AAPI students as the “model minority” and as one monolithic group that excels in education.

“Despite its positive connotations, this stereotype is detrimental to AAPI students,” said Tomikia LeGrande, Ed.D., vice president of strategy, enrollment management and student success at VCU. “Understanding the diversity that exists among AAPI students, as well as their lived experiences, is critical to ensuring their success. We have seen research and our own institutional data that indicate amplified and intersecting barriers for our first-generation and/or low-income AAPI students.

“These barriers can lead to gaps in their ability to have a strong sense of belonging, achieve academic success, achieve physical and mental well-being, and succeed in their degrees,” added Daphne Rankin, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Special Programs at VCU and Principal Investigator on the grant.

The DOE grant will also enable an expanded VCU You First Center to increase inclusive research activity that accurately reflects the diversity and intersecting identities of AAPI students.

“We continue to seek out and ambitiously pursue all possible resources to support our diverse student body,” LeGrande said. “I would like to thank Dr. Daphne Rankin and Molly Wright, Director of Communications for Strategic Initiatives in the Institutional Research and Decision Support Division, for their efforts in securing this grant. As we actively work to maintain our culture of care, funding like this allows us to better support our students holistically so they can succeed, not just during enrollment, but beyond graduation. their degree.