CCC Awarded $2.2 Million Grant to Expand Opportunities for Low-Income Students

Clackamas Community College was awarded a $2.2-million Strengthening Institutions Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant is highly competitive among higher education institutions, and CCC earned a nearly perfect score of 105.7 out of 106.

The Strengthening Institutions Grant helps colleges expand their ability to serve low-income students “by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The five-year grant will empower CCC to expand its guided pathways model, which the college is in the process of implementing. Guided pathways is a movement that will change how students experience their educational journey and successfully meet their goals.

It’s a strategy that gets students on a path, helps them stay on the path and complete the path. This college-wide approach will help students reach their goals while saving both time and money.

“This grant will enhance how students navigate the college system from their first term of college all the way through graduation,” CCC President Tim Cook said. “We know firsthand that students who receive support navigating college early on are more likely to be successful.”

Using grant funding, the college will hire “navigators” to assist students from the time they express interest in CCC through the end of their first term. A peer assistant program will be revitalized to support services to first-term students. Weekly workshops will help students learn about and navigate CCC.

The college will also scale up its First-Year Experience (FYE) course, which is a critical course where students learn how to take notes, plan their education, reach their career goals, discover college resources, create financial plans and build relationships. These program components will increase retention and completion rates, allowing the college to grow student success.

As part of the grant, the college intends to hire several personnel, including a project director, a lead navigator, two navigators, a peer assistant coordinator (part-time), a career services coach (part-time) and provide release time for faculty planning to teach FYE courses.

These positions will be spread across the life of the five-year grant.

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