OCCC Receives $2.2 Million Title III Grant

    (Published: 09-16-14)

News release

Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) recently was awarded a five-year Title III grant totaling $2.2 million from the U.S. Department of Education. The college plans to use the funds to help the most at-risk students and improve the overall student experience.
 
The grant will create a project called “A Model for Improved Student Experiences: Strengthening Academic Programs and Student Services.” The broad goals of the project are to strengthen student learning by redesigning certain courses and incorporate more comprehensive advisement and degree planning.
 
The college did an analysis to identify several other specific areas for improvement: instructional strategies, faculty development, advising and degree planning. These identified areas of improvement became the basis of the grant application.
 
A large group of OCCC students live in the OKC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) “inner core.” The residents in this area deal with higher rates of poverty and lower levels of education than their counterparts in other areas.
 
Looking at the characteristics of the fall 2012 student population more than 50 percent were the first members of their family to attend college. Almost 80 percent required remedial classes. The majority worked at least part-time (71 percent) and 60 percent cared for at least one dependent. Many of these students come to OCCC underprepared for college level coursework and are most at risk of dropping out.
 
While the college has made some major changes to help these students succeed, including a recent redesign of the developmental education program, some areas still need improvement.
 
OCCC is now focusing their efforts on improving college-level “gateway” courses, which are considered to be freshmen courses. By improving these courses, the college hopes to increase student success and retention rates. The grant money will allow the college to redesign 12 of these gateway courses.
 
OCCC will also use some of the Title III funds to do the following:
  • Supported by stipends, 264 faculty and staff will receive training, redesign curricula, pilot new methodologies and implement new degree-mapping software
  • Three new staff positions will be supported by the grant
  • $106,000 will be used to rebuild the academic advising point of service area, including new advising terminals
  • Nine classrooms will be retrofitted to accommodate collaborative learning student work stations
  • $166,000 is dedicated to the OCCC Foundation endowment which funds many student scholarships
About Title III
Title III programs help eligible institutions of higher education become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions.