Saint Peter’s University is Awarded a $3.8 Million Department of Education Grant to Promote Student Success

Jersey City, N.J. – January 29, 2024 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that it has been awarded a $3.8 million Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant was awarded for a project, titled Peacock Success by Optimizing Data and Support (PODS), which will improve academic success and increase retention, persistence and progress towards graduation. The Saint Peter’s University proposal was one of only nine PSSG projects funded nationally.

“The PSSG grant enables Saint Peter’s University to implement evidence-based strategies to improve student outcomes while also contributing to the national research on best practices and initiatives that advance student retention and completion of postsecondary students,” said Frederick Bonato, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost at Saint Peter’s University.

The PODS project implements three strategies to reach its goals. These strategies include:

  • An advising model. The new team-based retention model includes a professional advisor, faculty mentor and financial coach who will work collaboratively to support each Saint Peter’s student. This model will enable Saint Peter’s to more effectively and holistically address non-academic needs and will position faculty as mentors who can establish personal relationships with the students they advise.
  • Increased training on and an expansion of the University’s retention-data platform. Saint Peter’s currently utilizes a student-success and retention platform, which enables faculty and staff to monitor students’ academic performance, provide early alerts, share information to increase student support and coordinate resources when help is needed. Through PODS, the University will hire a dedicated retention data specialist and expand professional development to support more faculty and staff to use the platform in order to determine more data-informed, targeted and effective retention interventions.
  • The establishment of a Male Resource Center. A Male Resource Center (MRC) will be established within Saint Peter’s Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE). The Center is designed to increase academic, social and cultural support for male students. The MRC will accelerate institutional efforts to improve the academic achievement and postsecondary outcomes for male students.

“This grant is a testament to our commitment to student success, providing holistic support through innovative strategies,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University. “I would like to congratulate and thank the team that led the development of this transformational project and also express my gratitude to all who will be involved in its successful implementation.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) Program is a grant program designed to equitably improve postsecondary student outcomes, including retention, transfer (including successful transfer of completed credits), credit accumulation, and completion, by leveraging data and implementing, scaling and rigorously evaluating evidence-based activities to support data-driven decisions and actions by institutional leaders committed to inclusive student success.

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For more than 150 years, Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. To learn more, please visit


Media Contact
Angeline Boyer
(201) 761-6238

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