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UCF has earned $2.2 million in grants to help first-generation and at-risk students succeed in college.

"We are thrilled that UCF was selected to receive two grant awards which will support programming and services for low-income and first-generation students," DeLaine Priest, an associate vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services, said in a press release. "We know this comprehensive approach enhances student success and persistence to graduation."

The U.S. Department of Education will deliver the money during the next five years and it will support PRIME STEM/Student Support Services, a program which has served 242 undergraduates for the past five years. Half of the grant will help first-generation, financially disadvantaged and/or disabled students who are pursuing science, technology, engineering and math careers. The other half of the grant will help the same group of students who are pursuing other majors.

In the release, the program's director Rebekah McCloud said PRIME STEM provides a variety of services to students including: proactive academic coaching, advising, personal counseling, peer mentoring, peer tutoring, supplemental instruction and learning community opportunities.

The program also provides financial, life-management and academic-success workshops, cultural and professional events that help students network, and assistance in applying for admissions to graduate or professional school, including help in obtaining federal student aid.

"We are ecstatic that not only will we be able to extend our program for another five years, but that we will now be able to provide support to an additional 140 students," McCloud said. "This is an awesome opportunity for our students."

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Bridgette Norris is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @blogginbridge or email her at BridgetteN@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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