Kean University and Union County College Awarded $3.25 Million Federal Grant to Bolster STEM

Kean University and Union County College (UCC) will receive a boost, thanks to a five-year, $3.25 million federal grant. The award enables Kean University to partner with UCC to develop a multi-faceted program focusing on increasing the success rates of students in STEM disciplines.

“With Kean University’s selection as one of the top 5 most diverse colleges in the country, and Union County College’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Kean and UCC are natural partners for this Title V grant,” said Dr. Dawood Farahi, Kean University President. “Both colleges have a long history of serving our region’s diverse student population and providing our students with access and opportunity.”

The project has multiple components. One objective is to improve student retention, graduation, and transfer rates. To accomplish this goal, Kean and Union will create a joint-admissions agreement involving these Title V students which will develop a pathway from the associate degree at Union to a bachelor’s degree at Kean in STEM disciplines.

Union’s President Margaret McMenamin says the program is in line with federal educational priorities: “President Obama is calling for a diverse 21st-century, STEM-trained workforce. To that end, our partnership with Union will develop a strong model of transfer and articulation to promote the success of Title V students in STEM education. Once these students earn an associate degree at Union and a bachelor’s degree at Kean, they will enter the workforce in a STEM-related career or as a teacher of STEM disciplines.”

Grant funding will continue through 2019. Dr. Farahi and Dr. McMenamin credit federal legislators (Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Congressmen Albio Sires and Leonard Lance), State legislators (Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblyman Jerry Green), and the Union County Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak for supporting this grant.

Title V funds are allocated through the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen institutions that serve a high proportion of Hispanic and low-income students.

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