Joplin, MO (SNS) – The Project Stay program at Missouri Southern State University has received a federal grant that will continue funding its mission to help students succeed for the next five years.

Missouri Southern is one of 968 institutions of higher education that will have programs funded through the $270 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. The five-year grant amounts to more than $1.2 million over the next five years for the TRIO Student Support Services program.

Project Stay – which accepts first-generation college students, or those who meet an income guideline or have a documented disability – was launched in 2001 at the university. It provides one-on-one academic advising, tutoring, assistance with financial aid and other services designed to ease students’ transition through college and onward.

“We serve 170 students each year,” said Dory Quinn, director of Project Stay. “We offer academic advising and tutoring and job shadowing, as well as preparation for their career or graduate school.”

Study skills, time management and stress management are also stressed as part of the program, she said.

Every five years, Project Stay must reapply to the Department of Education for funding. A yearly report on the program is submitted to the department and those results are factored into the funding proposal. The annual reports include data regarding the persistence, academic standing and graduation rates of Project Stay participants.

“The proposal is more about why there’s a need for the program at Southern,” said Quinn. “If we have met all of our objectives (which are compiled from the yearly reviews), we receive extra points.”

Project Stay has met or exceeded all of the program objectives during the program’s nearly 15 years at Missouri Southern.

The grant provides $247,564 per year for the program at Missouri Southern. A large percentage of students participating in the program are freshmen who are the first in their immediate family to attend college.

“We offer them all-around support while they’re here,” she said.