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UNH Awarded $600,000 National Science Foundation Grant for Engineering

Release Date:
12/5/2012 12:00 AM

Dec. 5, 2012

Engineering, students, features

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- The University of New Haven has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to boost engineering student retention rates.

The five-year grant permits the university’s Tagliatela College of Engineering to participate in A Scholarship Program to Increase Retention in Engineering (ASPIRE), an NSF initiative to increase the retention rate of engineering students, especially those from underrepresented groups and with financial needs.

The program will permit the university to provide scholarships to sophomore and junior level students who have both financial need and have demonstrated merit.  UNH will also award scholarships to community college transfer students, and provide support services including engineering tutors and mentors to guide the students.

“One of the benefits of awarding scholarships to these students is that they will gain confidence and more time to participate in the extracurricular programs, including service, internships and other activities, that the college has to offer reducing the need to work to support their studies,” said Ronald Harichandran, dean of the Tagliatela College.

“Our data shows that 85 percent of our UNH students need financial aid, however, the university cannot fully meet all of their needs. The average gap between financial aid and what is still needed for engineering students enrolled in 2010-11 was $7,400, which makes it very difficult for students with families – particularly women – to complete their degrees on time.”

Many students in the UNH engineering program must work at least part-time, the dean noted, and each year more than 20 percent reduce their course load to part-time so they can work more hours.

Benefits of the program will include allowing some of those students to remain as full-time, improving academic performance, allowing students to graduate in a shorter amount of time, and helping students focus more on academics during their sophomore and junior years.

“The scholarship program also will encourage students to complete the engineering internship requirement of the college during the summer while they are not taking a full course load,” said Jean Nocito-Gobel, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UNH and principal investigator on the grant. 

The Tagliatela College offers bachelor’s degrees in chemical, civil, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering that are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,  The college also offers a new bachelor’s degree program in system engineering, a bachelor’s degree in sustainability studies, and eight master’s degree programs.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University. UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. UNH enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.