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CU Linked Receives $15,000 Grant From DRA

By Clarke News  |  December 2, 2022

Following a generous $15,000 grant from the DRA, Clarke’s CU Linked program is set to enhance its services in 2023 to help more students stay in school. 

The program, led by the Clarke University Social Work Department, provides goods and services like the CUpboard food pantries and winter clothing to Clarke students who live both on and off campus. The program also offers referrals and guidance on accessing health care, transportation, and other services in Dubuque.  

CU Linked will dedicate a sizable portion of the DRA award to direct student support, such as small-scale grants to cover medical co-pays, transportation, and other nonacademic barriers that can impact a student’s chance for success in college. 


So often we find that a student is struggling in class not because they don’t understand the material, but because they are distracted and stressed by a medical bill, a family emergency, or wondering how they’ll put gas in their car. CU Linked offers support and services to students, so they don’t have to face these situations alone. 

Tara Velez, Instructor of Social Work and one of the leaders behind the CU Linked initiative

Another part of the DRA funding will allow four faculty members to earn a professional certification in College Student Wellbeing, Trauma, and Resilience through Florida State University College of Social Work. Once certified, these faculty members will share their knowledge and the factors that impact student resilience and wellbeing with employees at Clarke.     

Student needs continue to change as more students travel farther from home for college. In 2022, Clarke students came from 41 states and 16 countries, and roughly 25 percent were first-generation college students. With many of these students away from home for the first time, they may lack the support systems or knowledge to respond when a situation arises.  

Students can connect with CU Linked by completing a simple form. The student will  then be paired with a faculty member who works to connect them with needed resources. More information and a complete list of faculty taking part in the initiative is available at 

As Clarke continues to explore new and unique ways to assist students, philanthropic gifts like that from the DRA and from our alumni and friends will remain a critical source of support. If you’d like to make a gift to support CU Linked and other initiatives, please contact