Onondaga Community College announced that it has been awarded a five-year, $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education under Title III. The grant, which was awarded under Title III’s “Strengthening Institutions” section, helps institutions expand their capacity to serve low-income students.
OCC’s Title III application documented the economic recovery plan developed by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) that includes improving educational attainment as a central strategy to address persistent poverty. The City of Syracuse is ranked as the 29th poorest small city in the U.S. and has the highest concentration of poverty among African American and Hispanic residents in the nation, and more than 50% of children in the City of Syracuse live in poverty. Nearly three-quarters of OCC’s first-time students are identified as low-income.
“I am tremendously proud of this milestone. Our collective focus over the past few years has been to identify research-based best practices from across the country and to bring these practices to OCC. This prestigious grant extends OCC’s proud mission of serving local students and offering degrees and credentials that meet the needs of local employers,” said OCC President Casey Crabill, Ed.D.
U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24), whose office worked to help secure the grant said, “I’ve proudly advocated in Washington for our local community colleges, and supported an increase in funding for Title III in the recent omnibus package. With this award, Onondaga Community College will be able to better support the many students in our community who begin their higher education at OCC before pursuing a four-year degree.”
OCC’s project, Guided Pathways to Success (GPS), extends the college’s work on structured Pathway Maps; common first-year learning outcomes; a structured non-academic support system and intake processes; advising; and accelerated pathways to completion for developmental students. Each of these interventions are well-documented in research to increase student retention and degree completion.
OCC serves a diverse body of nearly 10,000 credit students each year. The college offers 45 associate degree programs including Business, Health Professions, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and the liberal arts. OCC’s workforce development division also offers an array of non-credit training programs through partnerships with local employers.
The GPS Project will be led by a small dedicated project team supported by faculty and staff from across the college. Implementation begins immediately and will continue through 2022.