ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The National Science Foundation is giving a $5 million grant to be shared by eight Missouri universities to encourage more minorities to get degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.

At a joint celebration for the grant precipitants, President Dr. Dwaun Warmack says the money will help propel Harris-Stowe State University towards their goal to be the top Missouri school producing African-American graduates in mathematics and applied statistics.

“It’s historic for Harris-Stowe. This is the largest grant in institutional history,” he says.

Interim President Sue Thomas of Truman State University, another institution to share the grant, says the money helps more students to access a booming job field.

“I think it’s one of the areas where jobs are in the future. Especially [at] liberal arts institution, preparing STEM graduates is very important because we give them a broad-based education,” she says.

“We have great science programs at the university now, but this will certainly give us an opportunity to bring more students from underrepresented groups to the campus and to prepare them for the STEM fields” says University of Missouri – St. Louis Associate Provost Paulette Isaac-Savage. She adds that the university is “excited” for the future thanks to the grant.

Last year, 378 African-Americans in Missouri graduated with science, technology, engineering or math degrees. The goal is to double that to more than 600 in the next five years.

Some of the money will also go to St. Louis Community College, Washington University, University of Missouri Columbia, Central Missouri University and Lincoln University.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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