AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin’s University Leadership Network (ULN) was awarded a $265,000 grant from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation to support 50 students in the 2016-17 academic year.
ULN is a nationally recognized program that takes a holistic approach to help students from under-resourced backgrounds develop into leaders, succeed academically and stay on track to graduate in four years. Students follow a comprehensive four-year plan that includes leadership training and certification, internships and experiential learning, community and university service, and participation in innovative academic success programs.
Each year, ULN accepts 500 students into the program, which began with the class of 2017. This fall, the program added a fourth cohort, bringing the total number of students close to 2,000. These students are persisting at levels comparable to the university’s overall student population.
“The ULN program ensures students are engaged, connected, supported and accountable. The outcomes have been impressive so far,” said Pete Geren, president and chief executive officer of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation.
Three years of data show that 83 percent of the first cohort of ULN students have started their senior year at UT Austin. This is a remarkable gain over the 33 percent predicted four-year graduation rate for these students.
During their four years in the program, students earn up to $20,000 ($5,000 per year) in incentive awards when they meet program milestones and participate in all the program elements, which include completing 30 hours of coursework each year.
“The grant from the Sid Richardson Foundation will help the program deliver the services and awards that help our students succeed. This partnership makes attending UT a reality for many students,” said David Laude, senior vice provost for strategic initiatives at UT Austin. “With their generous support, we will continue to help students get the education they deserve, and pursue their dreams.”
UT Austin has set a goal to reach a 70 percent four-year graduation rate by 2017. ULN is one of many programs and initiatives helping the university achieve this goal.