News & Announcements

CSU Receives $750,000 from PNC to Advance Student Success

New PNC Scholars Fund & PNC Mentoring Program will help students graduate on time, with less debt


PNC has awarded Cleveland State University a $750,000 gift to further enhance its award-winning student success initiatives that are designed to improve retention and graduation rates. The funds will be used to create the PNC Mentoring Program and the PNC Scholars Fund. The Program will provide peer mentors to assist incoming freshmen in acclimating to college life. The Fund will offer needed financial assistance to upper level undergraduate students who have maxed out of financial aid.

“We have uncovered multiple tipping points in a college student’s path to graduation, with two of the most important being their first year of school and their last,” notes Ronald M. Berkman, president of Cleveland State. “With this support from PNC, we can provide freshmen with the additional tools they need to succeed and help undergraduates with financial hardships cross the finish line.”

“Education is a key ingredient to the success of any young adult. We want to make sure that every student at Cleveland State has the academic and financial support they need to earn a college degree,” says Paul Clark, PNC regional president for Cleveland. “Through this support, PNC will help CSU strengthen the community now and into the future as we retain talent in the region.”

The PNC Mentoring Program

  • Funding will be used to train student peer mentors who will be placed with the University’s First Year Experience Seminar, which is mandatory for all freshmen.
  • The mentors will augment classroom instruction and help new students transition and acclimate to being a student at CSU.
  • The program will initially provide mentors for five sections of the First Year Seminar in the fall of 2017 and will expand over the next five years to include all 65 sections.

The PNC Scholars Fund

  • This program provides scholarships to undergraduate students who have exhausted their financial aid and are within two semesters of graduation.
  • It covers direct costs such as tuition and fees up to $3,000 per semester.
  • The Fund builds on CSU’s highly successful Radiance Scholars Program, which provides financial support to students who are doing well academically and are working toward degree completion, but who face financial challenges that threaten their continued enrollment. Since 2011, Radiance has raised more than $6 million and awarded more than 1,900 scholarships.

“Peer mentoring has been very successful in improving freshmen retention and keeping students on track to graduate,” adds Peter Meiksins, vice provost for academic programs at CSU. “The PNC Mentoring Program will augment our additional student success initiatives to ensure our students have the social and technical skills that are essential for success in college and life in general.”