The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program has received federal funding for an additional five years, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education.
The McNair program is a federally funded initiative to prepare students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds for graduate-level study. It is named for the African American astronaut who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion.
UWM’s McNair program is one of the longest running in the country. However, continued funding was threatened earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Education announced plans to transfer $10 million from the McNair program to other programs to prepare young people for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Of the 203 programs nationally, only 134 had their funding continued.
The University of Wisconsin System and UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell were vocal in their support of the McNair program, according to Carmen Aguilar, director, and Donte McFadden, associate director. The McNair program also received help and support from numerous members of the administration, faculty and staff in preparing and supporting the grant renewal proposal, they added.
UWM was one of 12 programs in the State of Wisconsin to receive continued funding through 2017, according to Aguilar and McFadden. “As one of the original 14 McNair programs nationally, our institution will continue to prepare low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students for graduate study,” Aguilar added. “Special thanks to Senator Herb Kohl and Congresswoman Gwen Moore for their tireless support of the TRIO programs [McNair is part of TRIO], and the efforts of their staffs in voicing our concerns about these decisions to the Department of Education.”