13 December, 2017
Three Gadsden State Community College programs have been informed that grants from the U.S. Department of Education were renewed for another five years. Grants were awarded to the Title III Program on the Valley Street Campus, the Upward Bound Program on the Ayers Campus and the Veterans Upward Bound Program, which is headquartered at the Wallace Drive Campus. All grants are 100 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
“We are very appreciative of the U.S. Department of Education funding,” said Pamela Johnson, dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Grants and Special Projects. “The funding strengthens Valley Street’s academic resources for our students and allows Veterans Upward Bound and Upward Bound to continue identifying and providing services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. These programs assist students in preparing for and enrolling in college to become self-sufficient, successful and productive members of our communities.”
Title III Program
The Strengthening HBCUs Title III Part B Grant is worth $250,000 for the current fiscal year. Award amounts will fluctuate each year of the five-year grant cycle depending on the enrollment at the Valley Street Campus, the only campus in the area to have the Historically Black Colleges or Universities designation. The grant provides financial assistance only to HBCUs.
“We use the funds to improve academic quality, institutional management, student services and fiscal stability,” said Kassie Mathis, Title III director.
The Valley Street Campus has seen a lot of progress since receiving its first Title III grant in 1998. Through the years, the Title III grants have enhanced academic success through traditional methods, such as working with faculty advisors, conducting new student orientations and student assessments, facilitating workshops, creating an open-access computer lab, purchasing equipment for academic program areas and providing funding assistance for the construction of the Valley Street Campus Student Center.
Enhancing the learning experience through technology has been a focus for the Title III program.
“As a result of our technology initiative, all Valley Street classrooms have been equipped with interactive Smart Boards and wireless routers to increase Wi-Fi connectivity,” Mathis said. “Hundreds of students have participated in the Title III-funded Laptop Loan Program.”
In addition to the Strengthening HBCUs Title III Part B Grant, the Valley Street Campus has also received the Title III SAFRA Mandatory Funds Grant. This supplemental grant is 100 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is $250,000 for the current fiscal year. Gadsden State received its first SAFRA Grant in 2010.
“SAFRA funds were instrumental in the creation of the Valley Street Campus Library and Media Room,” she said.
Most recently, funds were used to renovate the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Program laboratory and the new Student Success Lounge. The public was invited on campus for the Open House of the Student Success Lounge Dec. 11.
For more information about Title III programs at the Valley Street Campus, call 256-549-8679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upward Bound Ayers Campus Program
The Upward Bound Program on the Ayers Campus is 100 percent federally-funded by the U.S. Department of Education for $263,938 in its first year of a five-year grant cycle. The program provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance and serves students from low-income and first-generation families.
“Upward Bound seeks to help high school students graduate successfully from secondary institutions and increase the enrollment and graduation rates at those institutions,” said Pearl Owens, program director.
The Upward Bound Ayers Campus Program serves 50 students from five target high schools in Calhoun: Anniston, Oxford, Saks, Wellborn and White Plains. The program was established in 1999 and has been successfully funded for 18 years.
“Upward Bound provides academic instruction in math, laboratory sciences, composition, literature and foreign languages,” she said. “Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment and work-study programs are also part of the services.”
Counseling services to improve financial and economic literacy of students is provided along with assistance with completing financial aid applications, she said. Participants in the program also serve their community by volunteering and participating in community educational events, such as visiting museums and historical landmarks within Alabama and beyond.
“The highlight for our program was visiting Washington D.C.,” Owens said. “We have also assisted hurricane victims, volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, worked on a community church and donated food to a national food bank. All of this prepares our participants to be leaders in their communities. With the renewal of the grant, the program continues to provide services for target school participants to help them succeed in their educational goals.”
For more information about the Upward Bound Program on the Ayers Campus, call 256-832-1210 or email email@example.com.
Veterans Upward Bound Program
The Gadsden State Community College Veterans Upward Bound Program’s first-year funding of the five-year U.S. Department of Education grant is $290,493. The program targets 10 counties: Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Marshall, St. Clair and Talladega. VUB has offices on three of Gadsden State’s campuses: Wallace Drive, Ayers and McClellan.
“Veterans Upward Bound is designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of post-secondary education,” said Sharon Lancaster, interim program director.
The program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring and academic instruction in the core subject areas.
“The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete post-secondary education programs,” she said.
Lancaster said all VUB projects must provide instruction in math through pre-calculus, laboratory science, foreign language, composition and literature. Projects may also provide short-term remedial or refresher courses for veterans who are high school graduates but have delayed pursuing post-secondary education.
“Projects are also expected to assist veterans in securing support services from other locally available resources, such as the Veterans Administration, state veterans agencies and veterans associations,” she said.
For more information on VUB, call 256-549-8286 or email VUB@gadsdenstate.edu.