Storm Lake students get aid


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A number of students will come to the University of Iowa campus through a pilot program officials hope will extend beyond the next school year.

UI Chief Diversity Officer and associate Vice President Georgina Dodge outlined a program, known as the Storm Lake Scholars Program, at the Feb. 11 Faculty Senate meeting.

It will give students who would otherwise not be able to afford college a great opportunity to succeed, said Beau Ruleaux, the principal of Storm Lake High School. Storm Lake Scholars aims to bring a diverse group of students to campus.

The need-based program will provide full-tuition scholarships for roughly 10 students and will be run by the Office of Admissions and the Center for Diversity and Enrichment.

The UI sees few students from Storm Lake. The community is 35 percent Latino, and during the fall of 2013, there were four students from Buena Vista County, where Storm Lake is located, who chose the UI for higher education.

Upon arriving on campus, the students will go through Iowa Edge, a four-day orientation program for minority and first-generation college students, Dodge said. The program will continue to monitor the students academically throughout their time at UI.

She said the students will live together, and the program will provide their parents with opportunity to visit and see what the students are going through.

The program will also provide on campus employment and job mentoring, she said.

“We need to provide support until [the students] find their stride,” Dodge said.

The program will center on retention and academic success of the students and is similar to the Posse Program in place in Chicago and other major cities across the country.

The Posse program, founded in 1989, provides four-year, full-tuition scholarships through university partnerships to students who may be overlooked in the traditional college selection process.

The Posse program places students in multicultural teams of 10 and has a 90 percent persistence and graduation rate, according to the Posse Foundation website.

“It’s important to provide a pipeline to the high school and to the community,” said Gabriela Rivera, a UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment multicultural specialist.

Ruleaux said he and his students are grateful for the scholarship opportunity.

“We’re really excited because it offers students an opportunity to go to the University of Iowa,” Ruleaux said, “My students are very excited about it.”

He hopes the program will continue for future Storm Lake High students.

“I hope it’s not a one-shot opportunity,” Ruleaux said.

Dodge said if the pilot program is successful, it could be implemented in other communities throughout the state of Iowa.

“It’s such an exciting opportunity for us as a university to reach out to the state of Iowa,” she said.

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