ED awards $17M to community colleges to help rural students


Eight community colleges will receive a total of more than $17 million from the U.S. Education Department (ED) to boost enrollment, persistence and completion rates among rural students by using career pathways that lead to in-demand, high-wage jobs.

ED announced Friday more than $44.5 million for 22 grants under the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development (RPED) program, which includes the two-year colleges. The eight community colleges are:

The colleges will receive about $2.2 million each, except for Marion Technical College, which will get $1.7 million.

See the selected institutions’ project abstracts.

“Rural communities face unique in educating training, and developing high-skill workers — yet they are also home to students with unique skills and potential,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a release. “These dedicated funds will ensure that students in rural areas have access to postsecondary credentials and other resources that lead to high-quality career pathways and economic success.”

Applicants for the RPED grants were encouraged to provide programs to support secondary students in accessing postsecondary education, to include partnerships with career pathways, and to provide strategies for community college students to transition to a four-year institution.

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