Cleveland State Community College was awarded approximately $27,000 through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) Ready to Reconnect Grant. The purpose of this grant is to build support systems that significantly improve outcomes for adult students. Cleveland State was one of 16 institutions that received this grant.
The grant will allow colleges to support adult student retention and completion through increased support and programmatic elements.
Cleveland State plans to increase opportunities for students to connect with other adult learners. There are also plans to offer additional strategies to help learners cope with the multiple pressures of home, work and studies. In addition, CSCC will increase the convenience of student support services.
“Cleveland State is excited to receive this grant and move forward with initiatives to assist our adult students,” stated Dr. Michael Stokes, Vice President for Student Services. “We recognize adult learners need different support than many traditional aged students and look forward to building our current services to assist adult students in achieving goals and completing their degrees.”
In order to apply for funding, institutions were required to first complete the Adult Learning Focused Institution assessment provided by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). This assessment served as a foundation for the project proposal and provided institutions with insight into the perspectives of their current adult learners and the obstacles they face.
The college’s ACCESS Center will coordinate workshops in basic computer skills and financial aid processes, two primary needs identified through the CAEL Adult Learner Focused Institution process survey. In addition, the ACCESS Center will develop and implement a new student organization focusing on providing peer interaction, support and increased communication for adult students.
To provide convenience, particularly for adult students in scheduling courses, the college will implement a new software program, College Scheduler. This new software will assist students in selecting courses based on the scheduling options that best fit their lifestyle and personal circumstances. Advisors will still work with students to develop an individualized education plan, while the software will facilitate course scheduling within those degree plans for adults who have a variety of demands on their time.
The development of additional programming and services for adult students aligns with the Cleveland State 2020 Community First Plan, the college’s new strategic plan, which includes an objective to “Increase the percentage of adult / non-traditional (over 24) students in the total headcount enrollment to a level of 40 percent.”
“Ready to Reconnect Grants will enable institutions to support their adult learners with innovative programmatic interventions,” stated Jessica Gibson, Assistant Executive Director at the THEC. “The grant program will also develop a community of best practices among these institutions in serving adult learners in Tennessee.”
For more information on the Ready to Reconnect Grant, contact Stokes at (423) 472-7141, ext. 211. For more information on Cleveland State, visit the website at www.clevelandstatecc.edu.