UMN Morris Awarded a US Department of Education McNair Grant

Sue Dieter

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the University of Minnesota Morris with a $261,888 McNair grant for the 2022-2023 school year. The award is one of 189 going out to higher education institutions as part of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degrees for students from historically underrepresented segments of society; either first-generation college students with financial need, and/or members of a group underrepresented in graduate degrees earned. McNair participants have demonstrated strong academic potential and will prepare for graduate study through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.  

According to Charise DeBerry, UMN Morris McNair program director, the McNair program builds on the campus community’s existing strengths.

“Ongoing funding of the TRIO McNair Scholars Program allows for a continued platform where undergraduates overcome barriers to their educational and professional aspirations,” DeBerry said. “By providing opportunities to participate in paid research and scholarly activities, and guiding students through the graduate admissions process, the program creates a supportive community that fosters inspiration, confidence, and empowerment for launching Scholars towards their dreams.”

Forty-five percent of US degree-seeking students are McNair-eligible. Racial and ethnic populations underrepresented in doctoral study and related careers comprise 38% of UMN Morris students. American Indian students, just 1-2% of university students nationally, comprise 30% of UMN Morris's students. Most are from the 11 Ojibwe (Chippewa / Anishinaabe) and Dakota (Sioux) Tribal Nations that share geography with the state of Minnesota; overall 50 other federally recognized tribes are represented among the student body.

Through McNair funding, a multi-year series of activities and opportunities will be provided to prepare Scholars for successful admission to and completion of doctoral study – including a 10-week McNair Summer Research Experience, workshops, a Research Success Seminar and Graduate Success Seminar, and academic and financial counseling.

About McNair

The McNair Scholars Program was created by the U.S. Congress in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the astronaut and physicist who was among the first African Americans in the U.S. space program. 

A group of 15 people in front of a UMN Morris backdrop


Members of the UMN Morris McNair Scholars Program who graduated in May 2022.