Grant allows Mason's Early Identification program to provide more opportunities to public school students

An infusion from a new grant means that as many as 60 additional students from Alexandria will get the opportunity to enroll in George Mason University’s Early Identification Program (EIP).

Program director Khaseem Davis said a three-year grant totaling $130,000 from the Alexandria Fund for Human Services will allow EIP to accept anywhere from 40 to 60 additional students from Alexandria City public schools, in addition to the 10 to 15 students from the city already expected to join the program aimed at better preparing first-generation college students.

“It’s good to have the funds to be able to provide the opportunity to these students,” Davis said. “I know that Alexandria City is one of those areas that has high need.”

The grant, which starts July 1 and goes through June 30, 2021, will be spread out in three annual increments of more than $43,000 each. News of the grant came as University Life was preparing to host its 23rd annual Diversity Scholarship Golf Classic (check out some of the action in the above picture gallery) to raise additional funds for EIP and Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) student scholarships.

EIP, which has produced more than 1,600 graduates since it began in 1987, provides access to educational resources for middle and high school students seeking to become the first in their families to attend college. Services include free SAT prep, after-school tutoring, mentoring, help with college essays, exposure to various careers and a three-week summer academy.

There are currently more than 600 students enrolled in EIP, thanks in large part to support from Mason’s corporate alliances and individual donors, as well as collaboration with seven local public school systems in Northern Virginia, including the City of Alexandria.

Year-round academic enrichment, personal and social development, civic engagement and leadership training opportunities prepare students for higher education and more productive lives afterwards.

EIP typically receives nominations for more than 900 students annually, but space and financial constraints limit the number of students admitted. This year’s entering EIP class of 169 students is the largest ever, Davis said.