SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois Springfield is getting federal dollars to attract students to the university and keep them there.

The university announced on Thursday that, with the support of Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski, it had received a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Strengthening Institutions Program. The grant will allow UIS to implement more high-impact practices (HIPs) to attract and retain students.

HIPs are teaching and learning practices that have been proven to enhance college retention, graduation rates and career prospects for students. There is a particular focus on those historically underserved by higher education.

“As we work toward the shared goal of helping more first-generation, low-income and historically marginalized students achieve their college degrees, this grant will be instrumental in providing additional resources to ensure their success,” said UIS Chancellor Janet Gooch.

UIS currently offers many HIPs in the forms of undergraduate research opportunities, internships and collaborative assignments. The grant money will go toward creating new HIPs like learning communities for online students and upperclassmen.

In addition, first-year seminars will also be improved with new shared learning experiences and financial literacy education. Additional collaborative internship opportunities will also be offered through internal and external partners, and UIS’ advising programs will be strengthened.

“We are committed to enhancing the educational experience for all our students, and this grant will empower UIS to offer an even greater array of resources to support their success,” said Jamarco Clark, UIS vice chancellor for student affairs. “Our vision for the future is one where every student, regardless of their background, finds a welcoming home at UIS, and this grant will help us achieve that goal.”