CSU, 28 Historically Black Colleges, Universities Receive Grants to Promote Student Success

$25 Million Grant from Strada Education Network Combines Higher Education, Experiential Learning, and Leadership Development

Strada Education NetworkCHICAGO, IL (Oct. 7, 2021) – Chicago State University, a US Department of Education Predominantly Black Institution, is part of a student success initiative with 28 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) made possible by the Strada Education Network. Supported through a $25 million grant from Strada, the initiative reflects a year-long collaboration designed to listen, learn from, and support the work of PBIs and HBCUs in developing the next generation of leaders.

“This initiative builds on our long-standing dedication to identifying systematic and sustainable strategies to help more Americans achieve better life outcomes for themselves, their families, and their communities through postsecondary education,” said Marshall Grigsby, Strada trustee and former HBCU president, provost, and faculty member. “Black colleges have a profound, positive influence in communities, for alumni, and students who, in turn, have the potential to make a positive difference in our society.”

The initiative focuses on leadership development and provides students with scholarships and financial support to defray some of the costs of participating in internships. It also helps students build their professional networks and prepare them to launch their careers or explore graduate schools. Rather than establishing a new program, the initiative was designed to augment existing programs on PBI and HBCU campuses by providing experiences that marry a student’s academic learning with career goals and leadership aspirations.

“Chicago State University is a leader in graduating students who are under-represented in their fields, particularly in STEM, education, and health sciences. The grant not only provides financial support that enables more Black students to access an education, but also connects education to career through experiential learning -- a strong model for student success,” said Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University.

Each participating school will select three students every year for four years -- a total of 12 students at each institution over the course of the initiative -- to serve as Strada Scholars. Each scholar will receive a $7,000 annual tuition scholarship, and each institution will receive funds per student, $1,200 for internship support and $1,200 to offer leadership-development resources, to use at the institution’s discretion.

“After consistently demonstrating strong ROI and accelerated economic and social mobility outcomes for our students, the HBCU community stands together in this critical moment of opportunity,” said Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University and the incoming Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs at the White House.

“​​As an organization that thinks deeply about the connection between learning and economic mobility, we have long valued the impact of historically Black colleges and universities,” said Tom Dawson, interim president and CEO of Strada Education Network. “This initiative is about learning from institutions that outperform their peers when it comes to vaulting students into the top income quintile as adults.”