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Northern Arizona University channels $1.7M to AWC through Helios initiative

Funds to provide scholarships and services to support more than 400 students

Yuma, AZ (August 13, 2019) – Arizona Western College was recently announced as a subrecipient of a $2.7 million grant awarded to Northern Arizona University Yuma by the Helios Education Foundation to help high school students successfully transition into higher education and careers.

The grant will fund the Yuma Educational Success (YES) program, which is a new collaborative initiative between AWC, NAU Yuma, and the Yuma Union High School District that will create systems to support enrollment, transferring, and retention from high school into college and between AWC and NAU.

A total of $1.7 million from this award will be shared with AWC to pay for student scholarships as well as staff, personnel, and student program expenses. Each of the 480 students who participate in the YES program can earn a $1,500 scholarship, renewable for a second year. The YES initiative is designed to support and encourage low-income, first-generation minority students.

“This collaboration is a true testament of our commitment to doubling baccalaureate degrees in our community by 2035,” said AWC Director of Transfer Services Martha Cordova. “It makes me proud to say that the YES grant will be the foundation for success for more than 400 students.”

In addition to scholarships, other types of supports students will receive through this grant include:

  • Professional mentoring, academic planning, life skills workshops, and social activities
  • Comprehensive academic advising across educational institutions
  • Career development and planning services
  • Financial support to participate in internships, study abroad, research, etc.
  • Bridge to Success experience (summer bridge program, 2 weeks prior to start of semester)
  • Family participation and engagement to enhance student support

NAU Executive Director of Student Affairs Wendy Bruun shared that the addition of this Helios program will further strengthen the existing college-going culture and increased college-going rates that have been cultivated through Ready Now Yuma and the foundation’s College Knowing and Going Initiative.

“Helios' investment in the development of the YES program will build upon the foundation at AWC and NAU-Yuma for a stronger student services model in order to increase college completion rates for YUHSD students,” said Bruun.

“We are excited to build stronger partnerships and develop a model that will serve as a catalyst for contributing to a multi-institutional vision, mission, and culture supportive of student success and educational attainment in the region. This model will focus on creating a significant impact on postsecondary educational attainment in Yuma by providing students with the tools, resources, academic and support services, and financial assistance to succeed in college and graduate with a postsecondary degree, ready and prepared to engage in the workforce and community.”  

Martha Cordova
Director of Transfer Services
Arizona Western College
(928) 344-7601

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