Clark State Community College has been selected to receive a second grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. The first grant was awarded in 2015 and is being used to address student financial emergency situations. The second grant, in the amount of $199,643, will be used for student completion programs offered through the College.
“We are proposing a set of interventions to address both academic and non-academic challenges that students face,” said Aimee Belanger-Haas, Clark State dean of business and applied technologies.
Clark State will hire a success navigator to serve as the primary contact for target students. “This person will provide guidance to the students and coordinate referrals to campus and community based services,” said Belanger-Haas. “We know many of our students struggle to complete their degrees for various reasons. Having a central person that can help steer the students to tangible resources will be a win-win for all parties involved.”
A portion of the grant funds will also help pay for supplemental instruction in upper level courses to ensure student success and completion of courses. Small grants will also be available to students struggling with child care or other such obstacles that may prevent them from finishing their degree; the grants will be up to a maximum of $500 per qualified student to address these concerns.
“The new grant is aimed at helping ‘near completers’ – those who have completed at least 75 percent of their degree courses – in nursing and IT programs,” said Belanger-Haas.
Belanger-Haas said the grant is aimed at high growth fields in the region with a sizeable persistence and completion gap. “The RN and IT fields were chosen because they have both been identified as high growth fields in our area and offer excellent wages for students with associate degrees,” she said. “These are also academically challenging careers so there is a gap between the amount of students that enter the program and the amount that successfully complete. The grant aims to help the students complete the degrees and get their dream job after graduation.”
Registered nursing jobs are expected to increase 16 percent over the next eight years nationally. Mean salary for RNs in Ohio is between $58,910 and $63,960.
Nationally, computer software development is expected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024; cybersecurity is expected to grow 18 percent by 2024; and networking is expected to grow 12 percent by 2024.
Clark State currently has several programs in place to help students complete their degree, including a first year experience (FYE) course where students chart the courses they need to finish their degree, comprehensive academic advising, career focus discussions and emergency assistance grants. Clark State also offers tutoring and supplemental instruction for preparatory and first-year general education courses.
“Clark State has always been focused on helping students be successful,” said Belanger-Haas. “Our strategic plan focuses on raising completion rates for students.”
Belanger-Haas said Clark State’s first goal is to increase enrollment, student success, engagement, retention and completion. “We have worked diligently on our completion plan which has now been rolled into our strategic plan.”