Skip To Top NavigationSkip To ContentSkip To Section NavigationSkip To Footer
Bulldog News

SC State awarded $583K technology grant to aid student success and retention efforts

Author: Sam Watson. Director of University Relations|Published: June 06, 2024|All News

 ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The Partnership for Education Advancement (Ed Advancement) has awarded South Carolina State University a $583,920 grant for technology to support student success and retention efforts.

The project links SC State with four technology-sector vendors that will provide software, hardware and training to:

  • Help track student progress and graduation rates.
  • Implement data analysis tools.
  • Enhance the Banner, the university’s student information system (SIS).
  • Update cybersecurity measures.
  • Purchase and install computer network improvements.

The grant is Ed Advancement’s latest contribution toward SC State’s mission of increasing access to quality education.

Dr. Manicia Finch
“SC State is moving toward a total transformation of the campus technology infrastructure that will holistically improve the student experience,” said Dr. Manicia Finch, the university’s vice president for enrollment management. “Ed Advancement has embraced assisting SC State with change by providing resources to support increasing enrollment through robust student engagement platforms, such as SLATE, ZeeMee, CampusESP, and A.I. Chatbot through Mainstay.”

Finch noted that Ed Advancement also has provided SC State with funding for the StarRez housing registration/communication platform, text messaging for communication campaigns, and funding to improve enrollment processes with the new SLATE for Graduate School implementation.

“As the university’s transformation officer, it is humbling for me to continue to build on our relationship with Ed Advancement and support President Alexander Conyers' vision to move the university forward,” Finch said.

Conyers said Ed Advancement and its corporate partners have been crucial to SC State’s success during the recent push to increase enrollment and maximize the university’s reach.

“Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Finch and our enrollment management team with Ed Advancement’s support, SC State is again the first choice for families seeking an excellent education with an HBCU experience,” Conyers said.

“With applications coming at a record pace and admissions brimming at capacity, we are focused now on finding better ways support students through to completion of their degrees,” Conyers said. “This latest grant from Ed Advancement will give us the data and technology to facilitate more student success.”

The latest grant’s components are:

  • Gates Dx Project Business Intelligence (BI)  implementation -- $80,000, Brilliant Associates. The BI dashboards will provide insights into:
    • Overall retention and persistence: SC State will be able to track student progression throughout their academic journey, identifying areas where support is needed to improve retention and persistence to graduation.
    • Student enrollment: The dashboards will offer a clear view of enrollment trends across different programs and demographics, allowing them to make informed decisions about resource allocation and recruitment strategies.
    • Graduation rate: Timely graduation rates will be a central focus, enabling them to measure the effectiveness of academic programs and identify opportunities to improve time-to-degree.
  • Training and licensing for Tableau data analysis software, $40,500.
  • Student information system (SIS/Banner) upgrades -- $167,281, Strata Information Group.
    •  The budget will support cloud computing upskilling for IT staff, empowering them to effectively manage and leverage cloud-based solutions for the SIS.
    • The budget includes funding for full-time database administrator support for a two-month period.
    • The Ed Advancement project also comes with a direct $6,419 allocation to SC State to purchase clean address software and an FTP server.
  • Cybersecurity updates for Banner -- $79,720, Strata Information Group. The budget will support:
    • Engaging a cybersecurity consultant with expertise in educational institutions toward implementing best practices and identifying potential vulnerabilities.
    • The creation of unique passwords for all user accounts, eliminating the risk associated with weak or reused credentials.
    •  The addition of multi-factor authentication as a mandatory requirement for all remote access attempts.
    • Encryption of sensitive data at rest, ensuring that even if unauthorized access occurs, the data itself remains securely protected.
  • Campus connectivity -- $160,000, Aercor. The budget will support:
    • Comprehensive replacement of network switches across our campus. This includes the acquisition of new switch hardware and software licenses.
    • Ongoing maintenance contracts for campus network infrastructure.
  • SC State also will receive a $50,000 subaward for participating in a campuswide integrated data pilot.