Saturday, July 06, 2002

College gets $1M in grants

Low-income residents targeted for education

By Kristina Goetz,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will receive grants of nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education this fall to help low-income residents.

        School officials say they received confirmation this week that Cincinnati State will receive $190,000 each year for the next five years to establish an Educational Opportunity Center.

        The center, which will provide tutoring, career counseling and admissions assistance, will target 10 neighborhoods in Hamilton County, most of which are in the empowerment zone, a federal program that aims to increase economic development in the nation's most distressed urban areas.

Getting the GED

        A separate $10,000 grant will purchase computer hardware and software and provide staff and training.

        “The main purpose is to help the students get prepared, said Bari Ewing, director of student support services at the college. “We're hoping that low-income people will look to go to college, not just Cincinnati State.”

        Participants without a high school diploma will receive counseling and support to enroll in GED classes. According to the latest U.S. Census figures, 94,207 adults age 25 and older in Hamilton County have less than a high school education. That's just over 17 percent of the population.

Neighborhoods benefit

        Those with a GED or high school diploma can seek help in scheduling college classes or filling out financial aid forms. The grant will allow students to be matched with degree programs at other institutions if those are better suited to their interests.

        It will also provide computer training in the neighborhoods.

        School officials say they expect to serve at least 1,500 Hamilton County residents per year.

        The 10 targeted areas are: Avondale, Evanston, Over-the-Rhine, Mount Auburn, Walnut Hills, West End, East End, East Price Hill, Lower Price Hill and Winton Hills.

        Cincinnati State is partnering with University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University and Central State University, among others. Social service agencies such as the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati and the Urban Appalachian Council will be involved.

        The colleges and universities have agreed to refer students who have finished fewer than two quarters to the program, said Bill Russell, dean of enrollment and student development at Cincinnati State.

        “It does fall right into the mission of our institution,” he said. “We believe ... that the college-going rate should be increased.

        “That will help our community, help our society, help the individual.”

        There are about 85 programs of the center's type nationwide.

        John Howard, 44, of Winton Terrace, is a student at Cincinnati State who participates in the school's student support services program. Though smaller than the planned educational opportunity center, it provides similar services.

        He was able to get tutoring and other support as a nontraditional student. The new program will offer help to even more students like Mr. Howard.

        “It's been monumental for me,” he said.


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