Pima Community College has been awarded two federal grants totaling more than $6.3 million to focus on increasing enrollment for Hispanic and low-income students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

With the funding, PCC hopes to improve overall success for low-income students.

The Northwest Campus will benefit from the added funding. The campus, which serves about 6,500 students in Tucson, Oro Valley and Marana, received a U.S. Department of Education Title III – Thinking Outside the Box grant to integrate instruction and student support in order to increase low-income student completion rates.

The award over the five-year life of the grant is $1,995,795.

Through the grant, PCC will improve assessment, monitoring, intervention and support for at-risk students.

The funds will also go toward teaching PCC faculty to make new technologies and best practices part of classroom instruction. It also will develop an engagement center in the Northwest Campus, which will bring instructors, students, support staff and peer tutors together.

“The grant will strengthen the Northwest’s ability to combine instructional and support resources to maximize student engagement and success,” said Dr. Alex Kajstura, president of the Northwest Campus.

At the West Campus, PCC has received a U.S. Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant. PCC is one of eight Hispanic-serving colleges in Arizona.

An institution receives a Hispanic-serving designation when more than 25 percent of student enrollment is Hispanic.

Through the grant, PCC will improve education achievement in the transfer-level sciences, focusing on innovative approaches to mathematics, a critical component to success in the sciences. Additional areas of focus will be on engineering, chemistry, physics and majors biology.

The grant is aimed at helping PCC integrate new teaching and learning technologies, support collaborative and inquiry-based teaching, and enhance opportunities for professional tutoring to support student success.

The grant will also seek to strengthen existing ties with the University of Arizona in engineering, and other science areas, and provide more comprehensive support to students as they work toward a two-year associate degree in science with the intent to transfer to a four-year institution.

The award over the five-year life of the grant is $4,321,377 in added revenue for the West Campus.

Dr. Lou Albert, president of the West Campus, said, “The college’s increased emphasis on achievement in STEM fields will help our students transfer to a university to attain a bachelor’s degree, or find employment in industries that will be the backbone of economic development in the region.”

The PCC Board of Governors is expected to approve the grants on Nov. 9.

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