Million Dollar Grant for Student Support

Thomas University students will continue to enjoy programs designed to assure their academic success, all thanks to a grant recently awarded to the school.

The payout is about $1.1 million, money school officials say helps them help their students.

Dr. Kim Estep, vice-president for academic affairs, says, "It assists the university by allowing our students to come in and have the support structure they need to stay in their programs, and finish and graduate from their programs, and so in that way, it helps the university by helping the students that are here."

The award is a renewal grant the school has received since the 1970s. The grant funds Thomas University's Student Support Services, a program that provides counseling, career fairs and one-on-one student tutoring. Those involved see the importance of the money.

Missie Cox, a student and tutor, says, "The students get a lot more out of their education when they have their own peers helping them through it."

Some of the program's success stories even come full circle.

Natasha Powell says, "I came into the tutoring position sort of by becoming a ‘tutee.’ I had a little problem with math my first, freshman semester here, so I was a regular fixture here in Student Support Services."

But her role soon changed when she was asked to tutor.

Natasha says, "I said sure, just to give back a little of what I was given."

It’s a service given to students that the grant ensures will keep on giving.

According to school officials, Thomas University was one of 13 Georgia schools to receive the grant. Cuts in federal funding have made competition for the grant tight.