A $630,000 gift from private donors who wish to remain anonymous will fund a new University of New Orleans program intended to provide holistic support to New Orleans Public School graduates. The donors plan to renew the gift on an annual basis.
The program, called Start Smart @ UNO, provides funding for a two-week summer bridge that helps students transition to college, as well as a customized fall semester, dedicated coaching and mentoring, a laptop and WiFi hotspot, meals, gas money or a bus pass, and leadership opportunities throughout their enrollment at UNO.
Eligible students must be an incoming first-year student at UNO who is Pell Grant eligible and a graduate of a New Orleans Public School. When coupled with the Privateer Pledge, which covers participating students’ tuition and fees, the initiative removes barriers to a successful college experience and puts more students on a path to a college degree.
“We know that a lot of different factors go into a college student being successful: everything from study skills and mentoring relationships to less obvious variables like adequate nutrition and reliable transportation,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “Start Smart @ UNO will bundle proven support structures together to keep participating students on track so that they can earn their degree.”
The goal is to ease the transition from high school to college by combining academic skills training and support services. During the summer bridge, students will get ready for college by taking math and English workshops, learning strategies for studying, note-taking and time management, and receiving support from key faculty and staff. After participating students complete the summer bridge program, they will earn a $1,500 stipend.
The customized fall semester consists of two 8-week sessions and provides a more focused academic experience with students taking math, English and first-year success courses with the same cohort of students, creating an environment of peer support. This will allow students to complete all general education math and English classes by the end of the fall semester.
For more information, prospective students and parents can visit: Start Smart | The University of New Orleans (uno.edu).