Palm Beach State College has been awarded a more than $2.58 million U.S. Department of Education grant to provide additional academic services and support programs to further enhance retention and graduation rates of Hispanic and low-income students.
To qualify for the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, PBSC’s enrollment had to reach at least 25 percent Hispanic in the year prior to applying. Although the Hispanic population has grown through the years, PBSC reached the required threshold last year. The Hispanic student population, the fastest growing at the college, was 26 percent in 2013-14.
Dr. Peter Barbatis, vice president of student services and enrollment management, said although the HSI grant is awarded to institutions serving large Hispanic populations, ultimately the entire college will benefit from the initiatives being implemented to strengthen the critical first-year experience for students, better track their progress and improve retention and graduation.
“This has great implications for the college to establish some new and exciting initiatives that can help all students. The grant will help facilitate both internal and external collaborations, which promote student access, engagement, success and program completion,’’ he said.
The college will receive the Title V grant in increments over a five-year period to implement its Pathways to Success project. The project has four key components: purchase and integrate new Student Success Plan software with PBSC’s Enterprise Resourcing Planning system to improve student advising, tracking and communication; implement a comprehensive and intrusive case management advising system; pilot a learning communities program for underprepared first-time-in-college students; and create professional development opportunities for faculty.