EdCC receives $880,000 grant to help disadvantaged students

  • Eric Stevick<br>For the Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:55am

Edmonds Community College has received an $880,000 federal grant to increase retention and graduation rates among low-income, first-generation and disabled college students.

Beginning in the fall, 160 students a year will be able to receive help in basic study skills, along with extra academic and financial advising. The grant is for four years.

The grant also provides extra classroom instruction, information about career options and help for students applying for federal or state grants to continue their studies at four-year colleges and universities.

EdCC President Jack Oharah said it is difficult to land the U.S. Department of Education grant the college received.

“I personally have been involved in trying to get one for 30 years at various colleges,” he said.

Once a college receives a grant, that increases the likelihood it will be renewed, he said.

EdCC joins Everett Community College, which received a $319,000 grant to provide similar services to 210 students. More than 2,000 EvCC students are eligible.

EvCC officials believe the grant makes a difference. It has found:

• 82 percent of transfer students in the grant program have a 2.5 grade point average or better, compared with 75 percent of all students and 34 percent of students who are eligible but are not served by the grant.

• 66 percent of students in the program returned in fall 2004, compared with 51 percent of all students and 42 percent of students who are eligible but not served.

At EdCC, two-thirds of the students who will be included in the program will be low-income or first-generation college students. The other third will be students with disabilities, according to grant specifications.

“It would be a great deal of help,” said EdCC student Barbara Jay, 44, who hopes to be chosen for participation.

The single mother from Bothell is a first-generation college student who went back to school to study Web site development.

Seventy-eight percent of EdCC students are the first in their families to attend college, said Melissa Filkowski, an associate dean in the student services department.

Filkowski said she sees great potential in increasing graduation and transfer rates for students served with the grant.

“This is so exciting,” she said.

Eric Stevick is a reporter for the Herald in Everett.

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