The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Metropolitan Community College more than $12 million for the five-campus college system to enhance its support of at-risk and underserved students.
The grant award is part of the Dept. of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program, which helps postsecondary schools expand their capacity to serve students through improvement and strengthening of academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability, as well as building a framework to help students complete college.
Metropolitan Community College received three grants totaling $12,284,354. One grant was awarded to MCC as an institution, one was awarded to the MCC-Blue River campus (Independence, Mo.) and one was awarded to the MCC-Penn Valley campus (Kansas City, Mo.). The funding will be distributed over a five-year period, which began on Oct. 1, 2013.
The grants will support the creation and expansion of a number of student service programs and curricular enhancements across MCC, including:
- Improvement of developmental education courses, including enhanced tutoring
- Expansion of peer mentoring
- Enhancement of the First Year Experience program to include an intensive guidance practice called intrusive advising
- Modification of the student orientation program
- Implementation of technology improvements to increase student success and assist in closing the digital divide
“We know that many students who come to MCC have high potential for success but are not quite prepared for college level studies,” said Nancy Russell, executive director of the MCC Institute for Workforce Innovation. “Now, having the financial resources to incorporate these intensive support systems—many of which we have already piloted and are proven to be effective—will be invaluable to our students.”
The initiative at MCC will be called FOCUS, an acronym for Fundamentals for Outcomes, Completion, Understanding and Success.
To be eligible for funds under the Strengthening Institutions Program, colleges must serve a substantial number of students receiving federal student aid and have low per-student expenditures.
The set of grants announced last week will distribute a total of $20.1 million to 39 colleges and universities across the country.