Stritch receives $200,000 College Completion Grant from Great Lakes

Cardinal Stritch University has been awarded a $200,000 College Completion Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation to support retention initiatives for students at risk of not graduating.
College students face an array of challenges as they approach the finish line: increasing textbook and supply costs, class scheduling conflicts, or maxing out financial aid. Stritch has researched and identified institutional barriers and personal obstacles to completion. Great Lakes grant funds support the planning, launch and implementation of the strategies proposed to remove those obstacles.
“The University is committed to programs of direct service to underserved populations, as reflected in many efforts to increase the completion rates and success of these populations,” said Dr. James P. Loftus, Stritch president. “We’re optimistic that Stritch’s completion coaching model supported by this grant will make a measurable difference on graduation rates for our students.”
While each partner college receiving the grant developed strategies to target completion rate gaps between their underserved students and their general student population, there were common themes to the types of work that will be done over the next two and a half years. Activities to boost college completion include:
  • Addressing scheduling conflicts. Colleges will optimize course sequencing and scheduling to make required classes available at the right times.
  • Improving academic performance. Supplemental instruction will help students succeed in courses with historically low pass rates.
  • Providing proactive advising. Advisors will regularly connect with students to identify areas of need (e.g., general education requirements, career planning advice), refer them to support services, and develop personalized completion plans.
  • Offering additional financial support. Small grants will help students overcome unexpected emergencies, or close the gap between financial aid and college costs.
“We are impressed that Stritch and our other grant recipients critically analyzed their institutional data and then proposed comprehensive plans to help struggling students cross the finish line and begin careers in high-demand fields,” said Richard D. George, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes. “Given our philanthropic focus on advancing completion, we’re interested to see how these plans can positively impact graduation rates for low-income students, first-generation students and students of color.”

Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967.
Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, Great Lakes has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers—as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. The group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, Great Lakes has committed more than $200 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit