Funding roundup

Higher education software and service provider Ellucian is awarding 25 community colleges $20,000 each to help students who are struggling financially due to the pandemic.

The PATH (Progress, Accomplishment, Thriving and Hope) Scholarship program aims to help community college students facing hardships with housing, tuition and food and other expenses brought on by Covid. More than 160 institutions applied for the grants.

“We continue to see the economic pressure of Covid-19 and the devastating effects this can have on our most vulnerable students,” Ellucian President and CEO Laura Ipsen said in a release. “Ellucian created the PATH Scholarship to provide some relief for students, enabling them to stay in school and achieve their educational dreams. We’re proud to help students and our partner institutions solve today’s challenges while planning for tomorrow.”

Ellucian, a member of the American Association of Community Colleges’ Corporate Program, has pledged an initial $1 million to the scholarship fund. In November, the first $500,000 was distributed to community and technical colleges across the United States, a segment where the pandemic has led to significant enrollment declines this year. The program aims to continue its growth with the support of like-minded partners.

The 2020 PATH Scholarship recipients are:

Connecticut

Three Rivers Community College received $109,000 from Dominion Energy to support full-tuition scholarships for nuclear engineering technology students. The only program of its kind in New England, the nuclear engineering technology degree program educates students in the theories underlying the safe operation of nuclear power generating stations.

Florida

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) announced that Eileen H. Arpke has created a fourth endowment through the NWFSC Foundation, established with a $20,000 gift. The newest endowment will create an award to recognize faculty excellence.

The Eileen H. Arpke Faculty Excellence Award will consist of a cash award and commemorative medallion that will celebrate quality, promote academic excellence and reward competencies in teaching and engaging students in the liberal arts and sciences disciplines at NWFSC.

Arpke previously established the Charles and Eileen H. Arpke Scholarship, the Eileen H. Arpke Scholarship and named the Charles K. and Eileen H. Arpke Conference Room. Since moving to the area in the 1980s, she has supported almost every area of the college. Her most recent gift assisted in closing the gap on the necessary funds needed to construct the Raider athletic department’s new indoor practice facility.

Arpke also served as a college trustee from 1987 to 1994.

NWFSC President Devin Stephenson signs the college foundation’s newly created endowment with Eileen Arpke. (Photo: NWFSC)

Kansas

Fort Scott Community College’s (FSCC) library will use a $1,481 Humanities Kansas grant for a community read project, which will bring the FSCC campus community and local communities together through a common book reading group.

The books the Fort Scott community will read and discuss are “A Choice of Weapons” by Gordon Parks and “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore.

Kentucky

West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) has received a $106,580 Delta Workforce Program (DWP) grant to support its Licensed Practical Nursing to Registered Nurse (LPN-to-RN) Accelerated Bridge program.

“WKCTC is the primary source of RNs for the region, and a recent regional hospital survey predicted a sustained need for more graduates to meet workforce needs,” said Shari Gholson, WKCTC’s dean of nursing. “The quickest way to get more RNs into the workforce is for LPNs to upskill by becoming RNs through our LPN-to-RN Accelerated Bridge program.”

The two-year project will pair an online preparatory course for LPNs with simulation lab access and mentoring to improve exam pass rates, helping participants to complete the RN program in as little as one year. The initiative is projected to train up to 45 LPNs with advanced nursing education.

Oregon

Lane Community College’s (LCC’s) nursing scholarship endowment is increasing to $600,000 thanks to a gift from Alan Yordy and Joan Kropf.

Twelve years ago, Yordy and Kropf established the Margaret Larsen Nursing Endowment with an initial gift of $50,000 to honor their friend and colleague. This month, the couple gave the LCC Foundation a rental property and sale proceeds which will increase the endowment to more than $600,000.

“This gift will dramatically reduce financial barriers for many deserving students and will open doors for future nurses in Lane County for years to come,” said LCC President Margaret Hamilton.

The endowment currently funds a single $6,000 annual scholarship. The new gift will generate approximately $25,000 annually, enabling the foundation to offer multiple scholarships beginning in fall 2022.

South Carolina

Aiken Technical College will expand its STEAM Room with the help of a $10,500 grant from the Community Foundation for the CSRA.

The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Room was created in 2016 as a makerspace to provide students, faculty and staff with opportunities to explore STEAM activities outside the classroom. This fall, the room moved to a larger space in the library to meet growing demand.

New equipment for the expanded space will include virtual reality systems, a makerspace table, 3D scanner, printer and laser cutter, and other materials. A media lab space also is a component of the STEAM Room expansion and will allow people to record and edit videos, lectures and photos.

About the Author

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