SEATTLE – WSU announced today that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will award a $250,000 grant over two years to support WSU’s “Future Cougars of Color” program. This unique program provides financial and academic support services to high-achieving students of color from across Washington state to allow them to attend, succeed and graduate from WSU.
Bank of America will present the grant to WSU President Elson S. Floyd today during the Macy’s Fifth Annual Future Cougars of Color Diversity Scholarship Luncheon, to be held at the downtown Seattle Macy’s store, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A separate check presentation will be made Sept. 15 at Martin Stadium in Pullman at halftime during the game between WSU and the University of Idaho.
“The Bank of America donation to the Future Cougars of Color Program extends our ability to make a college education reality for more students,” said Michael J. Tate, WSU vice president, division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity. “Bank of America has partnered with us in our pursuit of access and opportunity for all individuals who are qualified students but cannot afford their dreams of a college education. We welcome them to the Cougar family of opportunity-makers.”
Future Cougars of Color is WSU’s most successful program for minority students, showing a 90 percent retention rate over the past three years.
The program recruits high-achieving, multicultural high school students from lower income backgrounds, some of whom are the first from their families to pursue a college-level education. The program provides a comprehensive support network throughout their college career to assist them in obtaining a degree.
Peter Joers, president, Bank of America Washington State, said “Through our support of the Future Cougars of Color program, Bank of America is striving to increase opportunities for minority students in our state to succeed in the classroom and as leaders upon graduation.
This is a model program for universities across the nation in providing critical educational, support and counseling services to help more minority students excel in their academics and graduate in higher numbers.”
Bank of America’s grant will provide operating support for the program to expand and help support academic services intended to allow current WSU students to succeed and graduate.
These services, including the Multicultural Student Mentoring Program, are implemented within WSU’s centers for African American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Chicano/Latino, and Native American students. The Mentoring Program matches new students with experienced, successful, peers who provide them with structured guidance and support.
The grant also may be used to offer student mentoring and tutoring networks beyond their first year, personalized academic advising and career guidance, unrestricted access to computer labs,access to emergency loans, textbook purchase assistance and scholarship opportunities.
Currently, 216 WSU students – including 105 new incoming students this fall – are attending classes under program and its scholarship program. Given the trends experienced in the five years since the program was initiated, it is anticipated that WSU will welcome approximately 125 new Future Cougars of Color students annually. Each new incoming student receives a scholarship.
“This gift will have a profound impact on our ability to recruit and retain Future Cougars of Color participants,” said Milton Lang, WSU’s associate vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity. “We are so pleased and honored to partner with Bank of America and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
Since 1990, Bank of America has supported multicultural student programs in Washington State, and is the largest corporate philanthropist not headquartered in the state, providing nearly $3.4 million to local nonprofits in 2006.