Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 21, 1999

Matching funds affect R&R project success

by Anne Dolan

A survey of grant recipients for student recruitment and retention efforts shows that 17 of 53 projects funded in the program's first four years received subsequent funding and are ongoing programs.

Of 53 projects funded in the first four years (1998-99 is the fifth), 26 principal investigators responded to the survey. Funding for the grant program, currently $25,000 a year, is provided by the President's Office and administered by a committee of the P&S Council. The committee presented a draft of its survey report to the council at its May 6 meeting.

Among the committee's recommendations to strengthen the program are to require grant applicants to outline their plans if partial funding is awarded, communicate clearly that grants are for one year only, increase funding for the program and encourage departmental "buy-in" by requiring directors to approve proposals.

Mariama Hodari, who chairs the P&S recruitment and retention committee, said that buy-in, both financially and in spirit, has proven to be important to sustaining projects piloted with grant funding. Start-up matching funds from a department weigh heavily in the success of a program, she said.

"We concluded that those projects that get outside help -- for example, from the department -- are successful and have the most impact on recruitment and retention," she said.

A lot of good ideas were tried for a year and abandoned because there were no unit funds to sustain them, Hodari said. Other programs halted when the principal grant recipient left the university or transferred to another department, she added.

Another 12 student recruitment and retention projects received funding this year, but were not included in the survey because of timing. The council awaits word from President Martin Jischke on funding for the program for 1999- 2000.

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