A $2.6 million grant will allow Columbia Basin College to develop a math tutoring center and find ways to better advise and guide students through their education.
The Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions federal grant will be paid out over the next five years. Heritage University, Big Bend Community College and a partnership between Yakima Valley Community College and Central Washington University also received grants.
While part of CBC’s grant will go toward software aimed at studying student retention levels and other data, much of the money will be used to improve student success in math, inside and outside the classroom, said CBC officials.
Colleges and universities must have enrollments made up of at least 25 percent Hispanic students to qualify as Hispanic serving institutions. CBC lost its status in 2007 when federal regulations governing the designation changed but the school regained it in 2012. One out of three CBC students are Hispanic, according to recent enrollment figures.
The new grant will specifically go toward a Student Transitions and Achievement project which will redesign math and other entry-level courses that affect most CBC students, a release said.
They want to expand the college’s math tutoring center in the Lee R. Thornton Center on the Pasco campus to 5,000 square feet and add math instructors to support it.
“What we want to do is get these folks trained in the fine art of tutoring,” said Brett Riley, CBC’s director for business office services, grants and contract management.
The college has used past grants to study retention rates and develop ways to get students to a degree. But this grant will further that effort, particularly in creating a new early alert system to connect students immediately with advisers if their grades or attendance slip.