On Tuesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that two Central Coast community colleges received nearly $1 million in federal funding to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students.
The grants are designed to expand and enhance the academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability of colleges and universities at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country. Institutions of higher education must qualify as an HSI under the Higher Education Act and have an undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment of at least 25 percent Hispanic students. Together these colleges and universities are educating the majority of Hispanic college students.
At Allan Hancock, this grant will support the creation of a virtual science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for remote advising and online tutoring, faculty training opportunities, and increased access to academic support through technology. At SBCC, the funds will be used to develop a highly structured series of curriculum pathways leading to an associate degree and/or student transfer to a four-year institution within two years for full-time students and three years for part-time students.
“These grants will allow our community colleges to continue to pave the road to success for thousands of Central Coast students,” Capps said. “Education helps open the doors of opportunity and economic success in America, and these grants will help more students achieve their goals.”
“This award comes at a perfect time for Allan Hancock College, our students, and this region,” said Kevin Walthers, Ph.D., Allan Hancock College superintendent/president. “It will allow us to devote significant resources to streamlining the pathway from basic skills to transfer level courses. It will also allow us to integrate the college’s resource development components to ensure support for underserved students and change the odds of them meeting their educational goals. We want high school students and the community to know that choosing Allan Hancock College to begin their postsecondary education will prepare them to succeed in college and career throughout their lifetime.”
He added that, “as the only point of access to public postsecondary education in northern Santa Barbara County, AHC has a responsibility to ensure students are prepared to pursue technical and professional careers and have the resources to do so.”
“I believe this innovative program will result in the college having the highest degree completion and transfer rates among all of its students and for its Hispanic students in the state by the end of the five year period of this grant,” said Jack Friedlander, SBCC executive vice president of educational programs.
— Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.