Spirits are soaring a little higher at a UC Irvine center established in fall 2011 to support and enrich the academic, personal, and social experiences of students. The Student Outreach and Retention Center received an annual budget increase that will enable additions to staff and to student services.

“We are re-affirming our commitment of support to our students, said UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake, “and are pleased with the initial success of SOAR.”

The campus also extended by two years its funding commitment through June of 2016. Last fall, SOAR’s 17 different programs served more than 1,300 students who sought to raise their grades, enhance their campus experience and build skills for working in a global society.

“Outreach and retention are critical to the success of the university and important component of diversity efforts,” said Howard Gillman, provost & executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine. “SOAR helps us ensure that all of our students get the most out of this opportunity to study at a world-class university.”

Thomas Parham, student affairs vice chancellor, said improvements in the budget picture made the commitment possible. “As we slowly begin to emerge from lean times,” he said, “our premium is to ensure that the values and the virtues of a UC Irvine education are fully realized by a wide range of California students.”