News: NCAN News

Cleveland State University’s (Re)Connect to College Program Wins 2019 To & Through Award

Tuesday, September 17, 2019  
Posted by: Kelly Mae Ross, Communications Manager
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Jennifer Mulhern of The College Board presents the 2019 To & Through Award of Excellence to Stephanie Bunsey of College Now Greater Cleveland, who accepted the award on behalf of the (Re)Connect to College program, at NCAN's 2019 National Conference in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS—The (Re)Connect to College program at Cleveland State University received the To & Through Award of Excellence today at the National College Access Network’s 2019 National Conference. This award recognizes an institution (or department within an institution) that collaborates with an NCAN-member college access and success organization to ensure that the organization’s students – as well as all enrolled underrepresented students – get the supports they need to complete a two- or four-year degree.

The (Re)Connect to College program is a collaboration between Cleveland State University and NCAN member College Now Greater Cleveland focused on recruiting, retaining, and graduating stopped-out students (those with some college but no degree). CSU provides contact information for the stopped-out students so that College Now can invite them to make use of the reenrollment services the organization provides.

Since the start of the program in summer 2017, some 4,000 students have been contacted by email, text message, and phone. Of that group, 253 students have re-enrolled at the partnering institution and 47 have graduated. Fifty percent of the students in the program are first-generation college students and 65% are Pell Grant-eligible.

One program success story is that of a single mother who experienced homelessness and unenrolled when she was one course away from graduating because she owed a balance to CSU that she could not pay. The (Re)Connect program helped this student enroll in a payment plan to remove the hold on her account so that she could take her last class. The program also gave the student a “Last Mile” grant to help cover the cost of the class.

This program, although young, has had a tremendous impact on students' lives.

Jennifer Mulhern, vice president at The College Board, presented the award to Stephanie Bunsey, senior director of grant development at College Now Greater Cleveland. As the award-winner, the (Re)Connect to College program will receive $1,000 to put toward general operating support, scholarships, and/or professional development. Past recipients of this award include:

NCAN solicits nominees from its membership for the annual Awards of Excellence in College Access and Success. A committee of NCAN members reviews all nominations, with final decisions confirmed by the NCAN board of directors. NCAN thanks the six members of the 2019 Awards Committee for their service:

  • Judith Lorimer, Options Center at Goddard Riverside
  • Cheryl Jones, ACCESS College Foundation
  • Jamie Covell, Iowa College Aid
  • Angel Garcia, Georgetown University Center for Multicultural Access & Equity
  • Bob Obrohta, TCASN
  • Kayla Boss, De LaSalle, Inc.