Largest 2015 First in the World grant goes to community college

Money will expand predictive analytics, advising program

Six community colleges will receive $21.9 million in First in the World (FITW) grants to continue increasing student success, the Education Department announced on Monday.

Overall, a total of $60 million is to be split among a total of 17 higher education institutions—nine of which are minority-serving. This is the second round of FITW grants; federal officials awarded $75 million in grants to 24 colleges and universities in 2014.

This year, the largest FITW grant of $9.2 million will go to Central Carolina Community College, allowing the school to expand its predictive analytics early alert advising system, Central Carolina Works, to nine other local community colleges.

Improving student outcomes with data-driven advising and intervention

Additionally, Bossier Parish Community College will receive $1.84 million to expand its developmental math, English, and introductory science MOOCs available on YouTube. The videos have been viewed more than a million times by people in 151 countries and all 50 U.S. states, according to Allison Martin, the institution's director of institutional effectiveness initiatives.

The new funds will enable the school to link the MOOCs to a data system and "track everything from engagement to retention and find out to what degree we're really helping students," Martin says.

The funding will also go toward developing mobile apps and "gamifying" courses to improve engagement among male students ages 18 to 24. 

The other community colleges receiving FITW grants are:

  • Miami Dade College, $2.89 million;
  • Wake Technical Community College, $2.69 million;
  • Rio Salado College, $2.68 million; and
  • Bergen Community College, $2.6 million.

The Obama administration requested $200 million for a third round of FITW grants in the 2016 budget, but the version currently under consideration in Congress would eliminate the program entirely (Community College Daily, 9/21).

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