USU Urban Update Newsletter
USU Urban Update  
September 2016

From the Vice President

The Collaborative Opportunity Grant (COG) RFP will be announced soon.  As part of the Collaborating for Change initiative, the COG opportunity is designed to support emerging and/or new innovations that transform institutional practices, programs, and culture to improve student success.  Grants will only be awarded to collaborative projects/initiatives. A total of 4 awards are available for 2016 with additional awards available in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Awards will be made across five investment areas that were identified from the USU Summer Meeting. Proposed projects must touch on one or more of the following areas in order to be eligible for funding.
Investment areas:
  • Engaging faculty
  • Rethinking financial aid
  • Leveraging community assets
  • Engaging employers
  • Strengthening K-16 systems

We are also pleased to announce the launch of an online knowledge base of resources for holistic review in nursing, developed by UU-HEALTH in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The knowledge base contains tools and training for nursing deans to support implementation of holistic review on their campuses, including sample essay questions and screening rubrics, legal guidelines, best practices, and case studies.  Please feel free to use the knowledge base and share it with your colleagues.

If you haven't RSVP'd for the President's only dinner or the USU membership meeting please do so. You can contact Shari Garmise by phone 202-478-6064 or 

Like us on Facebook at The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU)!  And be sure to continue to follow us on Twitter @USUNews and @UUHEALTH

Latest on the USU Blog

Last year, in a New York Times op-ed, college student Brooke Evans shared a story that quickly became a wake-up call for university leaders.

“Without a home and without meals, I felt like an impostor. I was shamefully worrying about food, and shamefully staring at the clock to make it out of class in time to get in line for the local shelter when I should have been giving my undivided attention to the lecturer.”

Now take a step back, and think about how you’d feel if you were Ms. Evans. Everyone who’s been to college has experienced stress at one point or another. Being unable to afford food and housing, however, is hardship on a completely different level.

Unfortunately, Ms. Evans is not an outlier. Survey data show that about 13 percent of college students are homeless, and one in five experience food insecurity. Only 58 percent of students at four-year public institutions graduate within six years. Students are literally dropping out of school for want of food, and many cannot access federal benefits like SNAP because they have difficulty meeting the work requirements while leaving sufficient time to study. In the words of a student at George Mason University: “I spend more time thinking ‘How am I going to make some money so I can go eat?’ and I focus on that when I should be doing homework or studying for a test.”

The Pell grant, intended to help low-income students afford college, is hardly a panacea. According toresearch from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, a student’s Pell grant would cover nearly three-quarters of the cost of attending a public four-year university in 1980. Today, it only covers about a third. Consequently, 90 percent of Pell grant recipients end up taking on debt. Many of them never complete a degree or certificate, making their student debt even more difficult to pay off.  Read the full post.

USU in the News 

Greer Glazer, dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, has been named one of the 30 Most Influential Deans of Nursing in the United States.

Santa J. Ono, president of the University of British Columbia, was named as a recipient of the 2016 National Association of Asian American Professionals award.
The University of New Mexico reports that it awarded a record number of degrees last year despite declining enrollment, with its four-year graduation rate exceeding 20 percent for the first time in years. The university attributes its success to changes in credit requirements, engagement of faculty in student success, and increased investment in student services.


CEOs for Cities will host its National Meeting, "The Opportunity City" in Columbus, OH on September 27 - 29, 2016. Participants in The Opportunity City will explore how cities and regions are working to achieve inclusive economic growth and opportunities for widespread economic success.

USU Spotlight

The spotlight is on University of North Carolina, Charlotte. They are among five colleges and universities selected to share in the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award presented by the Washington Center. Honorees were selected based upon their leadership and innovation in civic engagement.


To view a copy of the USU Master Contact List click here

USU's blog, Urban University, is an initiative of our student performance strand. To share your innovations, case studies, reports, guest posts, videos, interviews, infographics, and more click here for the blog sharing template form.

September 27 - 29, 2016: CEOs for Cities Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH

November 13-15, 2016: APLU 2016 Annual Meeting, Austin, TX

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