Arizona Western College, in collaboration with Northern Arizona University-Yuma, received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday worth over $3.7 million for the next five years.
AWC and NAU-Yuma were one of 19 projects awarded funds nationwide to help expand the amount of educational opportunities available for Hispanic students and low-income individuals.
"We know that Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group pursuing higher education, but we need to improve the graduation rate for Hispanic students and provide opportunities for them to achieve their higher education goals," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This grant program will help more Latino students have access to quality higher education, which is key to building a highly skilled work force to compete in a global marketplace."
According to AWC, it eligible to compete for the cooperative Title V funding because of its designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).
"Schools must demonstrate a rate of 25 percent or higher to be considered HSI ... The grant also considered schools in service areas with high levels of low-income families and first-generation college students. The programs developed by the grants will be available to all students," stated AWC.
Through the grant funds, the schools will be able to work together to strengthen their student services such as orientation, advising, peer mentoring and tutoring.
"Plans also are under way to establish an AWC Transfer Center, an NAU-Yuma Advising/Transfer Center and a Joint Military Student Support Center," AWC officials said. "The third goal of the grant is improved use of student information via external data management to better plan for and track student success."
Work on the grant will begin in October.
AWC said this U.S. Department of Education grant brings the amount of one-time and multiyear awards given to AWC this fiscal year to $20.6 million, a record high for the college.
Visit www2.ed.gov/programs/idueshsi/index.html for more information about Hispanic-Serving Institution grant programs.
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