WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators announced this month that the college has received a substantial grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to assist low-income students with entering PCC and completing their educational goals.
According to PCC President G. Dennis Massey, the college has been awarded a $2.23 million-Title III Grant to improve student success through academic support, professional development of instructors and staff, and an integrated approach to student coaching and advising for careers and transfer to universities. The grant, he said, is part of DOE’s Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) and will be distributed to PCC over the next five years.
“We have made much progress in responding to the recommendations of Aspen Institute consultants, and Title III will enrich these initiatives and help make efforts to help retain and graduate all students broader and more long-lasting,” Massey said. “We will definitely contribute to realizing the state goal of 67 percent of adults earning a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025.”
According to DOE’s website, SIP funds may be used for a wide variety of purposes, including planning, faculty development, and the development and improvement of academic programs. Institutions may also use the grant money on student service programs designed to improve academic success, including those that provide innovative or customized instruction that helps retain students and see them through to program completion.
Massey credited U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield with helping PCC secure its grant. He said the funding would help the college increase retention, transfer and graduation rates through improved career exploration, standardized planning and academic advising, faculty development, use of technology, and better access to data collection and analysis.
“We had applied for Title III funding several times in the past, even before I arrived in 2003, but were never successful,” Massey said. “I believe that our sincere and demonstrated commitment to student success helped us gain more attention this time.
“Congressman Butterfield’s assistance provided key support,” he continued. “He has inspired our students several times when he has visited the campus.”
To be eligible for SIP funding, institutions must be serving a substantial number of students receiving need-based federal student aid and have low per-student expenditures. This semester, 67 percent of PCC’s enrollment is receiving some form of financial aid assistance.