UWSP LEAP expands program with housing arrangements and classes

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point wants to make sure all students feel comfortable and ready for school. The Learning Enrichment and Achievement Program or LEAP connects nervous students to create a solid base at college. The program is mainly for first-generation and low income but all are welcome to join the three-year-old program.

This year the program has expanded with a LEAP Living and Learning Community. This LLC houses all 25 freshman together on the third floor of Knutzen Hall. Together the students also take classes throughout the school year. A second class was added to the program this year. LEAP students are welcomed a week before all others to get settled, go on retreats and connect. Students are paired with student mentors who went through the program their first year. Madie Larson a LEAP student said she hopes to become a mentor next year to help other students like herself.

"I know that there are a lot of kids who are in my situation who are terrified and it would just be so good to help them out and say, hey! You are not alone and there are people here who can help you,” Larson said.

Trisha Lamers, the director of the tutoring and learning center that works with LEAP said connecting students creates a stable foundation for their college career.

"It helps the students feel like they're a part of something bigger. They are a part of a community. If they fall they are not going to fall very far because there are so many people waiting to catch them,” Lamers said.

In the past LEAP has increased UWSP’s retention rate by 24% and helped students raise their GPA by .5.