2016-2017 StepUP READY Grant Awards Announced

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) has announced the 2016-17 StepUP READY Grant recipients. The StepUP READY Grants are mini-grants (up to $75,000) that have a goal of increasing the number of Utah’s public high school students who graduate college-ready and enroll in a post-secondary institution.

Grants are awarded to partnerships between local K-12 school districts and Utah higher education institutions and are based on outcomes using metrics of college readiness. These metrics fall into four categories: preparation, enrollment, transition, and professional development. Applicants chose measurable objectives from a list provided by USHE and ensured their interventions and strategies aligned with one or more of the four categories.

In this third year of this grant opportunity, the timeline was updated to reflect the academic calendar instead of the calendar year of the previous grants. Three new programs were funded in addition to two expansion grants.

Grantees abstracts are below:


Dixie State University & Washington County School District ($37,500)

Expansion Grant: Math Completion and College Preparation  
In order to motivate and prepare more high school students to enroll in a 4th year of math, two opportunities have been identified:  1.) improve the grades and passing rates of students enrolled in the Math III classes, and 2.) provide information to HS Juniors and their parents on the importance of math and in particular the 4th year in preparing for college-level math courses.    In cooperation with the Washington County School District, DSU will use Step Up grant expansion funds to build on the success of the program and expand it beyond the pilot program of providing tutoring services to Dixie High, Pine View High, and Snow Canyon High, and to include Desert Hills and Hurricane High Schools.

University of Utah & Granite School District ($27,375)

Expansion Grant: Olympus High UCAC Advisor   
The Utah College Advising Corps (UCAC) is a university-based, college access program focused on reaching out to high school students who identify as low-income, first generation, and/or underrepresented, as well as other students facing substantial barriers to entering a higher education institution. Through one-on-one advising sessions, classroom visits, workshops for students and parents, and school assemblies, advisors assist students to prepare for, apply to and finance a college education. We are proposing a second year expansion of this program to Olympus High School in partnership with Granite School District.

Utah State University Eastern & Pinnacle Canyon Academy ($33,581)

New Grant: USU Eastern Summer ACT Boot Camp 2017
The ACT Boot Camp at USU Eastern is designed to help underserved and underrepresented students from Carbon & Emery counties increase their ACT test scores. The week-long intensive program will include workshops for improving study skills and test performance, courses for ACT subject review, timed practice tests, individualized coaching, and advising related to understanding, accessing, and navigating higher education. In addition, participants will be housed and fed at the USU Eastern Price campus, will engage in team building and leadership activities, and will have the opportunity to take the June 10, 2017 ACT Test.

University of Utah & Granite School District ($75,000)

New Grant: REFUGES:  Finding REFUGE in STEM Education at the University of Utah. Refugees & New Americans Exploring the Foundations of UnderGraduate Education in STEM
Refugees & New Americans Exploring the Foundations of Undergraduate Education in Science (REFUGES) will support underrepresented students through two program components: 1) an afterschool program for refugee and immigrant students (grades 7-12) that provides academic support, hands-on science enrichment, and social services such as family counseling, health and wellness workshops, and recreational activities; and 2) a 8-week summer science bridge experience for incoming University of Utah freshmen from underrepresented backgrounds. Although the summer bridge course accepts students from all backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM (women, minorities, economically disadvantaged, etc.), graduates of the REFUGES afterschool program will be given priority enrollment.

Weber State University & Weber School District ($73,670)

New Grant: Increased Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Groups in STEM Fields Using a Combination of Geoscience Concurrent Enrollment and Summer Bridge Program
This project focuses on development of an effective hybrid educational framework to improve participation and retention rates in STEM fields, among underrepresented groups. The geosciences are interdisciplinary and applied; students must combine their understanding of physics, biology, and chemistry and then apply that understanding to a complex Earth system. Using the region as a natural laboratory, students will feel a greater connectedness to their STEM education assessing natural hazards and resource management within their community. This program will act as a gateway for students who never thought of themselves as science- or math-inclined to futures in STEM disciplines.