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KeyBank grant will help CMSD graduates at CSU

The KeyBank Foundation has given Cleveland State University $1 million to help CMSD graduates stay on track at the university and earn degrees.

The KeyBank Scholars Program grant, to be distributed over three years, will pay for additional support from academic advisors, assistance in obtaining campus jobs, scholarships, instructional support and activities that help the students get to know their peers. Advisors will monitor the students’ progress in an effort to ensure that they graduate from the university on time.

The program will begin in the 2016-17 academic year and benefit not only incoming freshmen but current students who graduated from CMSD. About 150 CMSD graduates enroll at CSU as freshmen each year, according to the university.

"This philanthropic investment is very much in the spirit of the KeyBank Foundation's commitment to enhancing education in Northeast Ohio,” said Margot Copeland, the foundation’s chief executive officer. “We have worked closely with CSU to pinpoint the unique needs of Cleveland students, especially those who are first in their families to attend college, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to support their success."

CMSD students who will be CSU freshmen can enroll in a seven-week summer academic program that allows them to complete required courses and get to know other students before fall semester. Those who complete the summer camp will be eligible for a book scholarship that is renewable for up to four years.

The CMSD graduates also will receive help from an expanded group of “peer instructors,” Cleveland State students who are trained to assist other students with coursework.

"The KeyBank Foundation is allowing CSU to develop the tools needed to assure students who come from CMSD schools will be successful," CSU President Ronald M. Berkman said. "KeyBank's philanthropy continues to fuel a nationally unique partnership between CSU and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District."
CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon offered a similar expression of gratitude.
"KeyBank Foundation’s support of our partnership with CSU has been instrumental in easing our students’ transition from high school to college,” he said. “This gift makes it possible for CMSD students that attend CSU to have the supports they need to successfully complete their college studies.”

The KeyBank Foundation has been a strong supporter of CSU and CMSD.

In 2013, the foundation awarded $1.3 million for purposes that included renovating CSU classrooms for 11th- and 12th- graders from CMSD’s MC²STEM High School. The students move to CSU after attending ninth-grade classes at the Great Lakes Science Center and 10th-grade classes at GE Lighting’s Nela Park campus in East Cleveland.