Georgia State University’s National Institute for Student Success (NISS) has received a transformational gift from Truist Foundation, a longstanding and early supporter of success initiatives at the university.
The $2.5 million Truist Foundation grant will assist the NISS programming in helping other schools improve graduation rates among underserved students and strengthen financial literacy. The grant will fund the development of coaching services allowing partner schools to learn about innovative, evidence-based initiatives to help their students succeed. It also will support an 18-month collaboration between the institute and a group of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to implement such initiatives.
“Financial barriers are the primary reason students drop out or stop at universities and a major cause of equity gaps nationally,” said Dr. Timothy Renick, the NISS’s founding executive director. “Truist has long been committed to supporting Georgia State and other universities as we work to address these issues proactively. This new gift will further this important work, allowing us to collaborate closely with a cohort of HBCUs to ensure their students receive the most effective, data-informed support.”
The first cohort of HBCUs includes Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and Tennessee State University.
By connecting the key members of Georgia State’s student success operation with peers from across the U.S. and the world, the National Institute for Student Success incubates, tests and disseminates the next generation of innovations in student success. Georgia State has been widely recognized for designing and implementing scalable models for student success. It has more than doubled its graduation rates for Black, Hispanic, first-generation and low-income students while proving students from all backgrounds can succeed at equal rates.
With the help of a generous donation in 2015 from SunTrust Foundation now Truist Foundation, the university revolutionized delivering financial services to students. Using early alert systems, a comprehensive student financial management center, and campus and community outreach programs, Georgia State has helped thousands of additional students remain enrolled and earn their degrees. Since establishing the SunTrust Financial Management Center, Georgia State has increased by 50% the number of students who are fully engaged and financially ready for the start of classes one month before the beginning of the semester. The university also used the grant to create a financial playbook for other universities to replicate success.
“Our support of Georgia State’s student success programs is a key part of the work at Truist Foundation to help build career pathways to economic mobility,” said Jenna Kelly, Georgia regional president at Truist, speaking on behalf of Truist Foundation. “We believe in empowering the next generation of workforce leaders with the education, resources and skills they need to succeed, and Georgia State has always been ahead of the pack. We’re proud to continue our partnership to uplift the National Institute for Student Success.”
Over the next 10 years, the NISS is committed to helping at least 100 colleges and universities create clear and supportive pathways to success for their students to replicate the improvements in graduation rates seen at Georgia State. The institute will catalyze change in higher education by establishing a more robust platform for disseminating Georgia State’s lessons nationally and researching to create the next generation of student success innovations.