Grants to bring $10 million to college

Glendale Community College has been awarded two federal grants that will bring more than $10 million to the campus during the next five years, officials said.

The Title V grants, awarded as part of the Hispanic-Serving Institutions program at the U.S. Department of Education, are intended to help the college better serve its Latino population in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

To qualify, colleges and universities must have an undergraduate enrollment that is at least 25% Latino. Glendale Community College’s Latino demographic has hovered at 25% for many years.

At $4.3 million, the first of the two grants will allow the college to better enhance its basic skills education for students who are not yet prepared for college-level courses, said Cathy Durham, grant coordinator with the college.

“There are so many things that can derail their efforts,” she said. “We are hoping through these grants to make GCC a more welcoming and helpful place for students.”

About 70% of incoming Glendale Community College students need additional help in math or English in order to succeed in 100-level classes, she said. Some are the first in their families to attend college and don’t know how to navigate the system, which can lead to frustration and dropping out, Durham said.

“Sometimes students come in...with high aspirations, and they are kind of lost to post-secondary education and never heard from again,” she said.

The second grant, $5.9 million, will help the college develop experiential learning practices in science, technology, engineering and math to attract and retain minority students. Priorities will include redesigning courses to emphasize contextualized learning, faculty collaboration and tandem courses. Administrators will also create a first-year robotics course, Durham said.

A third federal grant to be managed by Cal State Northridge will help fuel the pipeline of students transferring to and from the community college into the university’s engineering and computer science programs, said Kristin Bruno, dean of instructional services.

Glendale Community College transfers more students to Cal State Northridge than to any other four-year institution, Bruno added.

“What we are trying to do is to increase the number of students who complete a degree here at the college, and then transfer to CSUN and graduate from CSUN in the fields of engineering and computer science,” she said.

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