The first year of college is often the most difficult time for students to adjust to the demands of school and remain focused on achieving their ultimate goal: earning a degree. According to the American Institutes for Research, nearly one-third of students who start college do not return for their second year. American InterContinental University (AIU) is addressing this issue with the new AIU Milestone Grant. The one-time grant, equal to the cost of a student’s first class, rewards students for passing an important educational milestone: completing their first quarter and beginning their second. The grant is designed to motivate and recognize students at a critical time in their educational journey and reflects the perspective of Complete College America and the National Governors Association that success in first-year college courses is strongly linked to overall student success. “We know that when students make the decision to attend AIU, they are making a commitment to themselves and their future,” said Dr. George Miller, president of AIU. “That’s why AIU is serious about investing in our students and helping them achieve success in their first quarter as well as throughout their entire educational journey. This is an extra incentive to persevere during what can at times be a challenging transition into higher education.” Grant Qualification All online undergraduate students (or qualifying re-entry students) beginning classes at AIU for the first time on or after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible for the AIU Milestone Grant. To receive the grant, students must pass their first AIU class, successfully complete their first quarter of classes and return to AIU for their second quarter. There is no application or paperwork to fill out. The grant, worth up to $1,359, is awarded automatically to eligible students. AIU offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs in areas including business administration, information technology and criminal justice. Each program is built around a specialized, career-focused curriculum in which students can learn from industry specialists and take more courses devoted to their field of study, on average, than at other similar schools. All of AIU is accessible through one log in and one centralized location, with a 24/7 support system available via phone, email or live chat, allowing students to learn on their own time.