State Fair Community College and Central Methodist University have received a joint $100,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) for their Advantages of College Education (ACE) program, created last year to boost college attendance and success rates for low-income Missourians.
The College Access Challenge Grant will fund phase two of the program through March 31, 2013. Last year the two schools received a joint $99,000 one-year grant to implement the program, which began April 1, 2011.
Major funding will be directed at financial aid assistance and college access activities, specifically:
• A full-time assistant director for college and career readiness (new position)
• A full-time financial aid advisor for 11 counties in their service area (funding will continue)
• A one-quarter-time financial aid advisor for three counties in their service area (funding will continue)
• Busing stipends for about 50 buses to an annual College Fair and Career Day as well as some busing costs for middle school outreach activities and “College 101” events
• College Fair and Career Day lunches for 2,500 students
• Middle school outreach activities
• GED site visits to 1,200 students with college access resource packets
• Partial funding for “Successful College Math Preparation” books (initial print run of 1,500 already produced)
• Miscellaneous funding for activities that involve high school students and/or staff, such as admission workshops
Pat Gillman, SFCC’s director of College & Career Readiness, said that last year through this partnership with CMU, more than 5,000 students in SFCC’s service area were provided opportunities to learn about careers and college access resources and to receive help with college enrollment and financial aid applications.
“This coming year, a college readiness activity will be added to further benefit the students,” she said.
SFCC and CMU already provide a 2+2 degree program to students in SFCC’s 14-county service area, which provides a seamless transition for students who want to complete their four-year degrees.
This year the MDHE awarded $1.5 million in federal funds to 17 groups to reach underserved students.
Congress created College Access Challenge Grants in 2007 to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.