MHCC Receives $2.1 million Grant from US Department of Education
Gresham, Ore. – Mt. Hood Community College has been selected to receive a US Department of Education Title III grant totaling more than $2 million under the federal government's “Strengthening Institutions Program,” which provides resources to aid colleges in serving low-income students. MHCC will receive approximately $430,000 each year for what is anticipated as a five-year grant. The first distribution of funds is expected on October 1, 2016.
"We are both thrilled and humbled to be selected for this grant," said MHCC President Dr. Debra Derr. “Low-income students are often the most vulnerable in terms of being able to pursue and complete a college education. With this grant, we will be able to expand upon the successes we've already had here at Mt. Hood Community College.”
MHCC has served students from Boring, Oregon all the way to the edge of Portland for half a century,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer, whose office worked closely with the college to help secure the grant.“This new Department of Education grant will help MHCC build on its excellent educational service and grow to meet the needs of our changing region.”
MHCC has seen an increase in both the number of low-income and first-generation college going students attending the institution. In the Fall of 2011, 44.3% of the student body was identified as low income, and 11.5% were identified as first generation. In the Fall of 2013, those numbers rose to 49.3% and 35.6%, respectively. In the Fall of 2013, nearly a quarter of MHCC students were identified as both low-income and first-generation college-going students.
The college has adapted to these changing numbers with a Student Success Strategies (SSS) program designed to identify at-risk students early, and assist them in reaching their educational goals with a variety of proactive strategies. These efforts have already seen success. Freshmen who have received support under the SSS program persist through to the next year at a 76.1% rate, compared to 48.3% of freshmen who did not receive assistance.
With the additional funding, the college's program can expand to include:
- Individualized intake and orientation appointments
- An assessment of each student's individual needs through diagnostic testing and appreciative advising
- The creation of an Individualized Education Plan to serve as a customized roadmap for students
- Campus visits to four-year universities, cultural enrichments trips and additional group activities
- Expanded tutoring and mentoring services.
"In general, we see three common, reoccurring barriers to student success," said John Hamblin, Associate Vice President for Student Development and Success at MH, "These include academic deficiencies, inadequate financial aid, and problems associated with balancing school work and goals with family and non-academic commitments. With this program, and this grant, we can make a difference in helping more students succeed and finish what they set out to begin here at MHCC."