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PCC garners $1.79 million grant from Dept. of Education
Photos and Story by James Hill
PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Portland Community College a Title III grant from its Strengthening Institutions Program.The five-year, $1,790,229 grant will be used to improve student retention through online services. The college will receive approximately $360,000 per year. The plan is to develop a virtual advising assistant to answer routine questions, expand online orientation to cover in-depth issues, create an online early warning system so faculty can instantly let students know when they’re grades are in trouble and establish intervention strategies. The project will also allow student access to their academic plans, a transfer center and a degree audit system via the Web. Title III grants help eligible post-secondary institutions become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students."The most important aspect of Tile III is the plan developed by the PCC student services and information technology staffs and faculty,"said Guy Sievert, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. "It provides for a high-tech, high-touch model of support services for students that will lead to higher student retention, and ultimately, greater success in students completing their educational plans at PCC. The funds we will receive as part of this grant enable us to make this plan a reality even in an environment where state support for PCC has been continually shrinking,"he added.Goals of this project include increasing retention rates for degree-seeking freshmen by 15 percent to 56 percent, and decrease the number on academic alert after their first term by 15 percent to 16 percent. Also, the grant will target increasing the number of degree-seeking students enrolling in four or more terms in a two-year period from 44 to 54 percent.PCC is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon, serving 101,000 part- and full-time students at three comprehensive campuses, four workforce training centers and more than 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area.