Chancellor Kristin Sobolik discusses UMSL’s role helping students build brighter futures with KMOX

by | Aug 28, 2022

Sobolik appeared as an in-studio guest with hosts Carol Daniel and Tom Ackerman during "Back to School Week" on "Total Information AM."
Chancellor Kristin Sobolik stands and addresses an audience seated around a table

Chancellor Kristin Sobolik, seen speaking at an executive learning experience for the St. Louis Anchor Action Network this summer, appeared on “Total Information AM” with hosts Carol Daniel and Tom Ackerman during “Back to School Week” on KMOX (1120 AM). (Photo by August Jennewein)

As colleges and universities across the country face a decline in enrollment, University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellor Kristin Sobolik says it’s important for institutions to show their students the value in getting a degree.

That was her message last week as she appeared in-studio as a guest on “Total Information AM” during “Back to School Week” on KMOX (1120 AM).

“We need to bring to the table how relevant we are – that we actually provide that access and opportunity and that pathway to a degree to increase their economic stature,” Sobolik said while speaking to hosts Carol Daniel and Tom Ackerman last Monday morning as classes were getting underway in the new academic year.

Helping students improve their economic circumstances has long been a strength at UMSL, which U.S. News & World Report ranks as one of its “Top Performers on Social Mobility.” The ranking highlights how well universities have graduated students who receive federal Pell Grants.

UMSL has long served a significant number of Pell Grant-eligible students, including 44% of the entering class considered for U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings. Pell Grant recipients come from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000.

Ackerman and Daniel – who is a member of the UMSL Chancellor’s Council – asked Sobolik what UMSL does to ensure Pell Grant students succeed in earning degrees.

“We really have positive wraparound services to make sure that those Pell Grant-eligible students have success and that they graduate so that they’re not in essence kicked out of the system with debt,” Sobolik said. “That’s the worst thing.

“We make sure that we’re tracking our Pell Grant-eligible students, and frankly other students as well, to make sure that they have tutoring if they need it, extra wraparound services with advising as well as hands-on mentoring to make sure they are successful.”

Sobolik also discussed UMSL’s ongoing efforts to build inclusive prosperity in the St. Louis region, the university’s partnership with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the university’s relationship with Metro Transit as it works to ensure safety on MetroLink – a service that greatly benefits the UMSL community with two stops on campus.

To hear the full interview, listen here.

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