Cisco College awarded $215,000 two-year grant

661746ed-e438-456e-b1f0-d90d721b5142CISCO, Texas – Cisco College was recently awarded a $215,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to increase college-going rates and transfer rates and to establish transition centers on the Abilene and Cisco campuses.

The program, College Connections 2+2+2, will initially target 10 school district partners and McMurry University to increase transfer rates from high school to post-secondary education. The school district partners include: Albany, Baird, Breckenridge, Cisco, Clyde, Coleman, Eastland, Jim Ned, Merkel and Wylie as well as Premier High School in Abilene. As the program progresses, more schools and other university partners, including, but not limited to, Hardin-Simmons University, Texas Tech University, Tarleton State University and Angelo State University will be added to the project.

“We’re very excited to have been awarded this grant,” said Amy Dodson, director of student success programs at Cisco College. “It was a competitive process that recognizes and rewards the college’s progressive stance toward student success initiatives.”

The project will assist high school students by administering pre-college services like providing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) assistance, college application assistance, testing and other advising services at their respective high school campuses. Through the development of the transition centers, the grant will also assist Cisco College students in navigating their transfer to universities by offering a location for four-year partners to provide counseling services directly to potential transfer students in Cisco and Abilene.

Lori Grubbs, a counselor at Cisco College, will oversee the project and will serve as director of college transitions. Grubbs earned her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and her master’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University. She has worked for the college for approximately seven years.

“Our goal really is to help the students succeed and to help them identify a path that is right for them,” said Grubbs.

Cisco College representatives, including Dodson and Grubbs, will travel to Lubbock this week to discuss articulation agreements, the transition center and other collaborative possibilities with Texas Tech University that will provide more opportunities for area students.

According to Fall 2007 data, over 2,500 students graduated from  area high schools; however, only 1,300 students or 52 percent enrolled in post-secondary education following high school graduation. That college-going rate is less than the statewide average of 53.7 percent. Additionally, area school districts report a higher percentage of at-risk students—50.9 percent compared to 48.7 percent statewide—and a lower percentage of students participating in recommended high school requirement programs—57.6 percent compared to 72.3 percent statewide.

Cisco College’s current enrollment is a record 4,250 students.