ORU Secures $2.2 Million Grant from U.S. Department of Education for At-Risk Students

ORU grant header image

Tulsa, OK— Oral Roberts University (ORU) has been awarded a five-year grant totaling more than $2.2 million, the largest academic grant in ORU history, from the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Strengthening Institutions Program. This grant represents ORU's commitment to address the unique challenges faced by students in today's higher education landscape.

ORU President William M. Wilson stated, “We deeply appreciate this generous Department of Education grant and the arduous efforts of our faculty in applying. The funds we receive over the coming years will help ORU take our programs and services for at-risk students to a new level. We are thrilled to expand our resources, and the results will change the trajectory of students’ lives.” 

The overall goals of the ORU grant include improving the six-year graduation rate, increasing the minority and Pell-eligible six-year graduation rate, and expanding academic support for at-risk students, among others. 

Higher education is accustomed to addressing the needs of at-risk students—such as first-generation college students, transfer students, and international students, among others. However, since the global pandemic, institutions of higher education have seen a significant increase in higher-risk students—those falling behind academically due to Pandemic Learning Loss and those suffering from other challenges that can impact learning, such as social, emotional, and financial setbacks. Because of this, colleges and universities are quickly becoming a primary resource for a growing population of students in need.

Calling the at-risk student crisis one of the “biggest challenges” in higher education today, University Provost Dr. Kathaleen Reid-Martinez said, “We are very fortunate at ORU that leadership recognized the post-pandemic challenges impacting so many students. It’s very encouraging that the Department of Education saw the value in our grant application and in our approaches to helping students fulfill their goals and dreams.”

Many of the ORU grant activities will be overseen by Assistant to the Provost Dr. Kim Boyd, who leads the University’s Academy for Exceptional Teaching and Learning and whose team submitted the grant to the DOE. Boyd said, “This grant is a game-changer for ORU. It will provide resources to support students, including those facing barriers to obtaining their degree. Faculty will participate in grant-sponsored professional development activities that focus on mentorship and advisement, and professors will benefit by applying teaching strategies that engage students.”

ORU students


ORU is a Christian, Spirit-empowered, interdenominational university in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with over a decade of consecutive enrollment growth. Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, ORU offers over 150 majors, minors, concentrations, and pre-professional programs at the bachelor’s level, ranging from business and engineering to nursing, ministry, and more. Under the leadership of President Dr. William Wilson, ORU is preparing students from all 50 states and 150 nations (from 2019 to 2023) to be whole leaders for the whole world.

The Wall Street Journal ranked ORU as the #8 university in the nation for student experience and one of America's Best Colleges (2024). This new category rates the best colleges in the U.S. to have a great experience while attending. This ranking is powered by one of the largest ever independent surveys of verified college students and recent graduates in the United States. Niche recognizes ORU as one of the most diverse colleges in America, # 1 best Christian college in Oklahoma, and # 1 in Oklahoma for diversity. Princeton Review ranked ORU as the best regional college, and College Raptor ranked ORU as a Hidden Gem in the Southwest.

ORU has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as:

  • #1 in Undergraduate Teaching
  • #2 in Most International Students
  • #3 in Best Value
  • #6 in Best College for Veterans
  • #7 in Best Regional Colleges in the West

For more information, visit www.oru.edu

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