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MSU Denver receives $150,000 to support students who lost jobs due to COVID-19

The grant will fund a new position to assist affected students and help meet state workforce needs.

By Lindsey Coulter

June 22, 2020

Silhouetted students walking across campus, Denver cityscape in background.Metropolitan State University of Denver has received the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Community Partner Program Displaced Worker Grant (COSI CPP). The program supports new or reengaged students who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 by helping them complete a certification or degree program that aligns with Colorado’s top jobs. The two-year, $150,000 grant also funds a new full-time staff position to reengage and support participants.

COSI is a program of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The program not only supports the short-term COVID-19 relief efforts but also informs and improves COSI’s longer-term strategies for engaging adults in postsecondary education. COSI is particularly interested in which interventions, service models and critical components of services have the most significant potential to improve enrollment, persistence and completion outcomes for adults with some college experience but no degree.

At MSU Denver, COSI CPP participants will receive holistic and proactive coaching from the soon-to-be-hired program lead as well as tuition and fee assistance, a needs assessment and connections to community and college resources. These could include support from the Student Care Center or City and County of Denver workforce-development opportunities. As a component of the program, students will also participate in C2 Hub career-engagement activities.

“The COSI program has demonstrated that adequate financial aid paired with college support programming is the model to support our students,” said Lauren Koppel, assistant director of Scholarship Support and Retention.

The Admissions and C2 Hub Student Support and Retention teams will also play a significant role. Staff will identify participants through a multipronged approach that also includes reengagement navigators, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and C2 Hub career-engagement and industry-partnerships teams. Additionally, the University is leveraging relationships with local city and county workforce-development offices and nonprofit partners.

The program also gives MSU Denver an excellent opportunity to build on the existing reengagement-navigators program. Reengagement navigators have been successful in connecting with and supporting Roadrunners who have paused their studies and would like to return. 

Koppel credits synergy among MSU Denver programs and offices for the successful grant application. 

“Our support-coaching model is so successful because of the close relationships and ethic of care from our Admissions, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Advising Systems teams,” she said.

MSU Denver will leverage SSC Navigate and Career Link database systems to measure outcomes and track student participation in career coaching and progress toward academic goals.

Topics: Academics, Funding, Grant, Student Affairs, Student Success

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