Mercer receives $1.1 million federal grant to help non-traditional students

Mercer University received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve retention, graduation and financial literacy among its non-traditional students.

The five-year grant provides $220,000 annually and will underwrite scholarships for 140 low-income, first-generation and/or disabled students attending the school’s Macon campus or regional academic centers in Douglas and Henry counties, according to a news release from the university.

The money also will be used to fund a new office as well as several staff positions including a director, two counselors, and administrative assistant, tutors and student workers.

The student support services grant is one of eight federal TRIO programs, which are outreach service initiatives designed to identify and provide services to college students from disadvantaged backgrounds as they pursue a degree, according to Mercer’s website.

“This new (student support services) program is an excellent opportunity to provide additional and more individualized services to the many non-traditional students at the University,” Michelle A. Currie, director of Mercer’s federal TRIO programs, said in the release.

“Services will be offered during times that work with students’ professional schedules. In addition, the grant aid offered through (student support services) can provide several non-traditional students with valuable scholarships to assist with tuition,” she said. “We are looking forward to playing our part in positively impacting Mercer student retention and graduation.”