WITCC awarded $2.2M grant to improve student retention, transfer rates

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 11:37 AM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Officials with Western Iowa Tech Community College have announced the college has been awarded a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

According to a press release, the money is meant to strengthen the college’s retention of its Arts and Science students, improve transfer pathways to four-year colleges and universities, and foster a culture of equity.

The $2.2 million is part of a 5-year grant, and in the first phase, the college plans to hire additional staff to focus on increasing completion and rates among Arts and Sciences students seeking their bachelor’s degree. Officials say some of the things the new personnel will be responsible for include overseeing connections with transfer institutions and improving onboarding processes.

Additionally, the college says the grant will be used to evaluate approaches where students gain valuable soft skills and real-world learning. The college also wants a renewed focus on the retention of minority students caused by a lack of connectivity and gaps in cultural competency. By creating mentorship programs, professional development opportunities, and scholarships for minority students, WITCC wants to improve transfer students to 4-year schools for minority students.

The second phase of the grant will focus on fostering a culture of equity by funding a Center for Diversity Enrichment within the college. The plan is to have the centralized student center include student resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as outside community resources specific to underrepresented populations.