As state financing for higher education dwindles, Shoreline Community College has recently qualified to compete for new and significant federal funding.
The details may sound dry, but a waiver that makes the school and students eligible for the Title III program through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education has college administrators smiling.
“Title III eligibility is a big deal, a really big deal,” said Vice President for Student Success Tonya Drake. “We can now apply for grants that would bring up to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.”
Title III is aimed primarily at financial assistance for low-income students and immigrant and refugee populations, said Drake, who co-wrote the waiver application with Kenny Lawson, Dean of Business/Intra-American Studies & Social Sciences.
“The college is now in a position to expand our capacity to serve low-income students – and we have five years to take advantage of this funding opportunity,” Drake said.
While Title III funding has specific purposes, the impact will be felt across the college. The school already provides financial support for low-income, immigrant and refugee students, but now with Title III, those college funds can be used elsewhere to help other students and programs, Drake said.
It also means that over the next five years, Shoreline is eligible for applying for grants that have the potential to provide up to $1.8 million to $2 million in support.
Title III can help colleges develop new programs for self-sufficiency and expand services. It is meant to improve and strengthen academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability. The funds can be used for planning, program development, faculty development and establishing endowment funds. Other projects include joint use of instructional facilities, construction and maintenance and student services.
With the waiver now in place, the college intends to go after a grant under the “Strengthening Institutions” criteria. A group including Drake, Lawson, Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes and Advising/Counseling Director Yvonne Terrell-Powell have started the ball rolling, meeting several times to talk about grant-request specifics.
“We have some initial ideas about how we can better link learning in and out of the classroom to better support our diverse student population,” Lawson said. “We still have a long way to go in terms of developing our strategy, and we look forward to working with the campus to define ways to strengthen our service and support to low income students.”
They will invite more faculty and staff to work with them during Spring Quarter.
The Funding is focused on institutions that enroll large proportions of minority and financially disadvantaged students with low per-student expenditures. The programs provide financial assistance to help institutions solve problems that threaten their ability to survive, to improve their management and fiscal operations, and to build endowments.