Schenectady County Community College has received a $1.8 million federal grant aimed at improving the college’s retention and graduation rates, as well as reducing the amount of time it takes students to graduate.
“It’s a lot of money that’s going to help us do a lot of good things for student support,” said Penny Haynes, SCCC vice president of academic and student affairs.
The four-year grant took effect Oct. 1, so SCCC officials are already developing job descriptions for “success coaches,” who will work closely with students at risk of falling behind or leaving school without finishing. The grant will fund four of the coaches, who will work out of the student affairs department, meeting directly with students.
“These people will be working from day one with our students,” said Sabrina McGinty, assistant vice president for student affairs.
The money will also be used to improve the college’s online course offerings, including professional development for faculty who teach those courses and development of a rubric for measuring the quality of those courses. By improving online courses, college officials hope students will find greater success in those classes and advance more smoothly to graduation.
Another new position will expand the college’s ability to study and analyze how well its own programs are performing.
Haynes said the college started work on its grant application in January.