Funding roundup

Santa Monica College will use a $2 million grant to help students navigate college.

Fourteen California community colleges have been recognized for their work in reducing students’ time to degree completion and their cost to attend college. The colleges received a total of $25 million in grants from the State of California Department of Finance as part of a state Award for Innovation in Higher Education.

“Boosting completion rates and reducing college costs are among the highest priorities for all three higher education systems in California. The schools recognized today are leading the way when it comes to making these twin goals a reality for this state,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said in a press release.

Santa Monica College (SMC) is collaborating Arizona State University to implement a redesign of MyEdPlan, an award-winning educational planning tool developed by SMC. They’ll work to convert the tool into a highly-developed interface to help students navigate their way to academic success. Their project was awarded $2 million.

“Having had early success, we know this funding will help SMC institute pathways more widely to keep students moving forward — from the moment they arrive at the college,” said SMC Superintendent/President Kathryn Jeffery.

Cuesta College received $2 million for a new program being developed that will give local high school students the opportunity to earn a transfer degree from Cuesta tuition-free one year after graduating high school.

Riverside Community College District’s grant of $2 million will be used for the district’s Foster Youth Support Network. The program will deliver interventions to help foster youth high school students successfully transition to postsecondary education.

See the full list of grant recipients here.

Also in California, the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and the University of San Francisco (USF) were awarded $2.15 million in grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The district and USF will partner on a new transfer program to help underserved and underrepresented students earn four-year degrees in the humanities.

The grants will support Humanities Mellon Scholars at Foothill College and De Anza College. Students will receive a strong two-year foundation in the humanities and assistance with resources to transfer to four-year college degree programs. Foothill-De Anza and USF faculty will also collaborate on teaching and research opportunities.

Seventy students a year will be selected to take part in the program, which begins this fall.

Study of the humanities is important, because “it deepens critical thinking, encourages social responsibility and contributes to character development ­– qualities that are so critical in the world today,” said Judy Miner, chancellor of Foothill-De Anza.


Palm Beach State College (PBSC) students in the heavy equipment mechanics program will benefit from some recent donations. The college received equipment valued at nearly $100,000 from Everglades Agricultural Area business partners. Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida donated a $20,000 dump truck and Everglades Farm Equipment a $25,000 John Deere Stationary Power Unit. Florida Crystals Corporation gifted a $50,000 tractor to the college.

“These forward-thinking companies share our vision of ensuring that students are highly skilled and job-ready when they graduate,” said PBSC President Ava Parker said. “Their gifts will enable our students to work on equipment critical to local industries and allow us to do an even better job of providing a quality workforce for the region.”


Blackfeet Community College can continue construction on a new facility thanks to a $400,000 grant from the state. The college is building a 9,200-square-foot health sciences facility, which will allow the college to expand its nursing and public health programs.


Paul D. Camp Community College’s (PDCCC) new environmental science programs received support in the form of a $50,000 donation from Community Energy Solar LLC. The programs will have a focus on solar energy. The timing is right because the governor recently announced that the largest solar farm in Virginia will be constructed in Southampton County.

“This will open local jobs that will need highly specialized skills in order to construct and maintain the facility and give the students the hands-on training they need as well,” said PDCCC President Dan Lufkin.

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
Tabitha Whissemore is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.