Eastern Gateway Community College’s student support services program received a five-year extension with a $1.2 million federal grant.
Started in 2005, the program helped the college to expand its efforts for student success and retention. The original funding amounted to $1.1 million.
For each of the next five years, the college will receive $238,045 through the Student Support Services Program of the Federal TRIO Program, U.S. Department of Education.
“The need for advisement, counseling and assistance for students has been and continues to be a major concern for our campus,” said Laura Meeks, EGCC president.
The program provides grants to institutions of higher education for projects offering support services to increase the retention and graduation rates of low-income and first-generation college students, and college students with disabilities; to foster an institutional climate supportive of their success; and to facilitate their transfer from two-year to four-year institutions.
In the first five years of the additional student support services, the college marked records in student retention with an all-time high of 76 percent of students continuing from the fall to spring semester in 2009-10. For the same period, retention of low-income students was 79 percent.
At Eastern Gateway, 72 percent of the students are low income, 58 percent are first generation college students and 8 percent have a disability.
Each year the grant will help Eastern Gateway increase the retention and graduation rates, facilitate entrance into four-year colleges and foster an institutional climate supportive of the success of 160 students who are low-income, first-generation and/or disabled. Career counseling, peer mentoring and coaching will be used.
Grant staff include Dorothy Collins of Boardman, project director; Ty-Juan Young-Bright of Youngstown, academic counselor/mentor coordinator; Jamel Chamberlain of Steubenville, academic counselor/tutor coordinator; Susan Barrett of Poland, Linda Cipriani of Follansbee, and Carissa Cook of Wintersville, all part-time academic advisors; and Marilyn Crew of Wintersville, secretary.