SEED program awarded grant by McNair Student Achievement Program

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Dec 11, 2009

Maile Goo
Maile Goo
UH Mānoa’s Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity (SEED) office was awarded a four-year grant of $880,000 through the McNair Student Achievement Program to address the doctoral degree attainment of first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students in Hawai‘i.   Annually, the program will target 25 college-level juniors at UH Mānoa who will be mentored in research opportunities, and participate in summer research internships and workshops to strengthen academic skills for graduate school entry.
The McNair Student Achievement Program, a federally funded program, will be administered by Graduate Professional Access (GPA), a new SEED program that provides support and retention for underrepresented students in graduate degree programs, and the UH Mānoa Office of Student Affairs. Maile Goo, who currently oversees GPA, will serve as principal investigator. Goo has a doctorate in psychology and previously worked with the Haumana Biomedical Program.
According to the National Office of Postsecondary Education, students from lower income families have lower rates of academic preparation and success rates than students from higher income family backgrounds. Over a 30-year period from 1970 to 2004, research indicates that students from lower income families achieved an overall degree attainment of 2 percent, while students from higher income families made a 36 percent increase in attaining degrees.
Hawaii ranks 36th among states for low-income and first-generation college participation, and ranks 40th for college continuation among low-income and first-generation students.  Also in Hawaii, Filipinos, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have the highest percentage of individuals living below the national poverty line.
By providing support to students committed to completion of undergraduate studies through graduate work and doctoral degrees, the McNair program hopes to counter the disparity of educational attainment.  Partnerships with other programs that support first-generation and low-income families have also been established to facilitate the recruitment of the program.