Shoreline Community College is going after the big fish in the federal-grant pond.
“We’ve submitted an application for eligibility under the Title III grant program,” said Judith Hansen, Interim Executive Director – College Advancement. “The application outlines our service to underserved cultures and plans to serve new populations of students.”
Hansen said the application also requests waivers in two areas and explains the circumstances for those waivers. “Total cost of college to our students is one factor. The Puget Sound region has a generally high cost of living, making our student costs higher, too,” she said. “Also, our enrollment showed a dip in the target year for a variety of reasons. Still, we only missed the target by 1.5 percent.”
Title III is intended to help colleges develop new programs for self-sufficiency and expand services to new student populations. The funds are to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Funds may be used for planning, program development, faculty development, and establishing endowment funds. Administrative management, and the development and improvement of academic programs also are supported. Other projects include joint use of instructional facilities, construction and maintenance and student services.
Shoreline President Lee Lambert said that qualifying for the money takes effort, but the payoff will be worth it, perhaps $1.8 million to $2 million over three to five years. “Title III is a huge pot of money,” Lambert said. “We are asking for waivers, but if they say ‘No,’ then we’ll ask what we need to do to make that a ‘Yes.’
“This is the kind of thing we must do in these economic times.”
Hansen said that collaboration among Student Services, Instruction, Business and Research Office staff members through the holidays assured the successful submission.
“Without them, we’d never have made the Jan. 6 deadline,” Hansen said. “They did a tremendous amount of work in just a few weeks, work that would normally take months.”
While Shoreline’s application is for eligibility to apply for funding, it also outlines areas the college would target with such funds.
One of those areas could be a Center for Equity and Engagement. Vice President of Student Success, Tonya Drake; Business/Intra-American Studies/Social Sciences Dean, Kenneth Lawson; Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes and others have been working this fall on a concept that would open an umbrella over programs such as the Multicultural and Women’s centers, the Global Affairs Center, Service Learning, the Honors Program and other student-engagement efforts.
According to the grant language, “The Center for Equity and Engagement seeks to strengthen the institution’s commitment to student learning and student success by focusing on a comprehensive and holistic learning environment that provides integrated opportunities both inside and outside the classroom to assist learners in making emotional connections, applying their learning, and creating meaning.”
Initially, a Center for Equity and Engagement would focus programs and services as students make transitions into, through and eventually out of the college. A current example of such a program is Students’ in Service. Funded in part by a grant through Washington Campus Compact, the program is currently coordinated by the Multicultural Center and provides students an opportunity to learn about multicultural issues and earn credit in exchange for fulfilling a defined period of service.
“We have some really terrific engagement programs on campus,” Backes said. “A Title III grant would certainly help us coordinate them and give more students a richer academic and overall college experience.”
At this point, Hansen said it isn’t clear just when Shoreline might learn the status of the application. “It is likely a relatively small pool of schools submitting waivers, so I’m hoping we hear sooner rather than later,” Hansen said.