Sept. 25, 2012
For Immediate release
For more information, contact Tara Irgens at 774-4267 or Wanda Meyer at 774-4231
WSC receives nearly $400,000 in SIP grant money
WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston State College is pleased to announce that it has been named a recipient of a grant as part of the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). The grant, which is awarded to colleges and universities from the U.S. Department of Education, is worth $399,900 for the first budget period, which runs Oct 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013. The total of all 14 grants is $5,485,662.
"This is quite a prestigious grant," said Kayla Retzer, WSC Director for Marketing. "There are more than 200 colleges which applied for the grants and only 14 in the entire nation were awarded."
According to information from the US Department of Education, the SIP initiative helps "postsecondary schools expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability of eligible institutions and build a framework to help students complete college."
The funds may be used for various purposes, including "planning, faculty development, administrative management, the establishment of an endowment fund, and the development and improvement of academic programs. Institutions may also use the grant for other projects, such as allowing the joint use of instructional facilities, performing construction and maintenance activities, and developing student service programs designed to improve academic success, including providing innovative, customized instruction designed to help move students rapidly into core courses and retain them though program completion."
The program funds grants for a total of five years.
While the college has not had time to make final decisions on where the money will go, according to Wanda Meyer, WSC Provost and Vice President for Instruction & Student Services, the grant money will help WSC provide some much-needed services for its students.
"One thing we will be able to provide our students is access to Smart Thinking," she said. "This is a tutoring system for all our students, whether online or on campus. If they need help with their homework, there will be live people on the other end of the phone 24/7 to help them. It is something that other schools have done but we never had the funding to do it."
They are also looking at the residence hall and ways to make it a better place to study and help the residents improve their academic success.
"We are making sure that we have an academic atmosphere there as much as possible," Meyer said. "Whether we set up study areas, get better computer connections, etc. The possibilities are many."
Part of the funds will also go to the Academic Success Center, helping to fill in any gaps that may exist there. Meyer said that this will help them be able to assist students to better understand their educational goals and look at their career path, and to be able to fit the two together.
"This grant gives us an opportunity to make a significant difference for our students," she said. "It will really help with making sure that all aspects of the students' educational process are complete."
She sees this as an opportunity to help students with more than simply class work.
"We are here to not just offer classes, but to teach them how to function in the world," she stated. "This grant will help us to fill in the gaps and be able to send our students out into the world well prepared and with the tools they will need to be successful. This will allow us to help them become better individuals in society and more successful with their chosen path in life. And that's what is really exciting about this grant."