Department of Education awards SPSCC its largest grant

On Oct. 4 it was announced that SPSCC will receive 2.25 million dollars of additional federal funds over the next five years. To put that in perspective, it’s the largest grant the school has ever received.

“The college doesn’t get a lot of federal funding, and what we do receive is for student financial aid. So this is very unique for us,” said Dr. Rhonda Coats, SPSCC Vice President for Student Services. Federal funding is a somewhat rare thing for community colleges, generally only being given in the forms of Title III and IV grants.

According to an SPSCC website administration news report written by Dean of College Relations Kellie Braseth, “South Puget Sound Community College has received a five-year, $2.25 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The college will receive $450,000 per year from 2014-2019 to establish the Graduation and Achievement Initiatives, Networks and Strategies (GAINS) program.”

The GAINS program is a system for student success, channeling funding into tutoring, advising, and technology. The program will add to current resources (such as advising) and strengthen them to better serve students.

“The GAINS program is to expand our support for students and help them be successful. These support systems are everything from more tutoring in different areas to supplemental instruction. We are working to improve advising and career planning/placement,” said Dr. Coats, “This will give us a chance to enhance campus technology to help students. It will allow us to be more holistic in our approach to how we help students.”

The grant was announced by Congressman Dennis “Denny” Heck at the Foundation event “The Experience.” Heck released the following statement about the Grant. “As the Member of Congress representing the South Puget Sound Community College campus, it was an honor to break the great news about the $2.25 million grant for their GAINS program. This investment to assist the individual determination of each SPSCC student to complete their education is money well spent by the Department of Education, and I look forward to the impact it creates for the entire South Sound community.”

Dr. Coats summed up the purpose of the grant and the GAINS program, saying “The grant is to give students a pathway to get their educational goals. It will help us to make things easier for students.”