Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), joined by Dr. Juan Maldonado, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, and Dr. Nora Garza, announced a $3,875,000 grant from the Department of Education to be divided over five years to improve academic achievement through a partnership between Laredo Community College (LCC) and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) aimed at enhancing an improved transfer-student process and increasing faculty development.
"As students attain their core coursework within the community college and move onto their specialized fields, it's important to provide increased academic support, especially for transfer students, so they are be able to graduate and compete in a globally competitive workforce," said Congressman Cuellar. "This grant will allow for coordination between LCC and TAMIU so that students can make the transition from their associate's degree to bachelor's degree swiftly and with more confidence. I thank LCC and TAMIU for their commitment to a project dedicated to the betterment of our Laredo students, which is crucial to increasing student success, retention and graduation."
Through a Title V Cooperative Agreement Development grant, LCC and TAMIU will receive funding directed at improving student success. This grant will allow coordinated linkage and faculty development between both institutions, as well as enhanced community programs in service learning. Additionally, this grant will assist with improved collection, analysis and use of data tracking for each student, and a strengthened transfer process between high school to college and college to the university, including an a specialized orientation for students entering TAMIU from LCC and tutoring opportunities for transfer students.
"Laredo Community College is extremely grateful to Congressman Henry Cuellar for his continued support in advocating for us in Washington on behalf of the Title V grant. We also are grateful for the dedication of Dr. Nora Garza and Gabriel Lozano, who worked tirelessly to secure this grant. This will be a great opportunity for LCC to work collaboratively with TAMIU to ensure students succeed in the areas of reading and writing, as well as mentoring. We look forward to a successful administration of this grant and the many positive student success stories that will follow," said LCC President Dr. Juan L. Maldonado.
One of the grant's integral goals is the promotion of the fiscal stability of both LCC and TAMIU. Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley, an independent external evaluator for the project, will help determine the linkage between proposed activities and successful outcomes.
"Laredo Community College's Strategic Plan is focused on student success. As part of that effort, this grant will help strengthen the college's ability to help students succeed and to use data to measure our institution's effectiveness in that regard. Providing specific assistance to students at critical entry points in their core courses will help increase student retention and completion rates. We value Congressman Cuellar's support in our efforts to increase student academic success," said Dr. Nora Garza, LCC vice president for resource development and project director of the Title V Focus on Student Success program.
The project will ensure it is successfully working toward its goals by monitoring factors such as the percentage change over the five-year grant period of the number of full-time degree-seeking undergraduates, the percentage of students who continue to the second year of college, the percentage of students from LCC graduating within three years of enrollment, the percentage of LCC transfer students retained and graduating with a bachelor's degree within four years of enrollment at TAMIU, and the reduction of cost for undergraduate degrees at LCC and TAMIU.
"This is a remarkable example of our institutions' shared values and mutual desire to advance our community together. Innovative programs like "Focusing on Student Success' improve the ease and transparency of transfer between the college and the university and help students maintain a laser focus on degree attainment. We are certain this program will dramatically increase the number of students who secure four-year degrees. We are deeply appreciative of the leadership and partnership provided by Congressman Cuellar in securing this critical funding," said Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The new federally funded project is scheduled to start in October. For more information about the project, contact Dr. Garza at 956-721-5868.