Tulsa Community College has been awarded the distinguished Title III Strengthening Institutions Program Grant for $2.25 million from the U.S. Department of Education. One of the largest grants a community college can receive, it supports institutions serving a high number of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
With flexibility on how the money can be spent, TCC will use it to build comprehensive wraparound services for students leading to higher course completion, retention from semester to semester, and college graduation rates.
“As a college, we’ve made tremendous strides to graduate more students and saw a 22 percent increase in our graduation rate over the past five years. Our work has not stopped and with an additional $2.25 million, TCC can concentrate and expand academic supports for students to increase retention and success in college and in life,” says Leigh B. Goodson, TCC president & CEO.
In a news conference on Thursday, Nov. 18, TCC explained the grant will focus on three areas. TCC will embed tutors in developmental reading and writing courses and embed Success Coaches in sections of the College Success course. This allows TCC to add additional Success Coaches, which has already produced positive student retention results and at the same time, will greatly expand the use of embedded tutors in courses.
“This semester we have embedded tutors in a handful of sections working with about 120 students. Beginning next Fall, we will increase those numbers to include about 1,500 students each semester by 2026,” says Dr. Paula Willyard, dean of communication, English, & world language.
The third area adds a career component because it is essential students have early exposure to their chosen career path as they get started in college, rather than waiting until the end as they graduate.
TCC, with a work ready and transfer focus, is an important element within the Tulsa area to provide training and education to meet the needs of the region. The grant allows the College to support individuals where they are today and develop tomorrow’s workforce.
“This is an investment in our community and ensures our companies have skilled and trained employees. I applaud the proactive work TCC is doing as well as the partnerships the College continues to build to produce more graduates resulting in a stronger and more vibrant community,” says Cassia Carr, Tulsa deputy mayor, who also spoke at the news conference.
In recent years, TCC has intentionally designed a student experience with more student support services such as academic advising, funded in part through a $20 million campaign and private donors. The $2.25 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Program Grant will expand and sustain those efforts to support students so they can pursue their dreams of earning a college degree.
The timing of this grant, while not directly related to the pandemic, allows TCC to be proactive in responding to the needs of current and future students and any ongoing repercussions.