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DTE Energy gives Wayne State University $1.4M in grants; main focus is retention, grad rates

February 29, 2016


The nonprofit DTE Energy Foundation has awarded nearly $1.4 million in three new grants to Wayne State University, most of it for a new program to improve retention and early graduation rates for new students in the College of Engineering. Some $1.2 million of foundation funding will go to the pilot DTE Energy Foundation Eos Program for Student Success, launched last fall as an academic and financial assistance program for first- and second-year engineering students. Eos Program recruits up to 60 new undergrads per year and offers academic support through mentorship, group projects, prerequisite course enrollment and assistance and even parking and meal vouchers to help early students get more engaged with their studies. President and COO Steven Kurmas of Detroit-based DTE Energy and College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi both said the university approached DTE for assistance as part of its capital campaign. "It's important because Wayne State graduates also tend to stay in Michigan and contribute to the comeback of our economy, perhaps more so than any other local public university," Kurmas said. Fotouhi said the university identified the need for early student assistance based on graduation and retention issues facing the university as a whole. An additional $100,000 foundation grant from DTE is going to the summer enrichment program of WSU's Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, to help incoming first-generation college students transition to university academics; and $48,000 more goes to the Mike Ilitch School of Business for scholarship assistance with tuition.