Two METRO Members Receive High-Profile Grants from the Department of Education

by Davis Erin Anderson, Community Engagement Manager, METRO

Two METRO member institutions will receive highly sought-after funding from U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) First in the World grant program. The College of New Rochelle and LaGuardia Community College have earned multi-million dollar grants for their efforts to ensure the success of non-traditional students.

The College of New Rochelle will pilot test Mentoring, Undergraduate Research, and Augmented Libraries (MURAL), a project that will build a model for improving adult students’ academic achievement and share data on successful programs with colleges that serve similar populations. Project MURAL also received a Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education in early September 2014.

The library at The College of New Rochelle will have a central role in MURAL. Ana Fontoura, Dean of Libraries, will spearhead an effort to create teams of librarians, faculty, and writing specials who will produce new curriculum and design specialized modes of support for adult students. The project will also focus on enhancing library services on the College’s campuses; some of the funding will go toward a newly-built Learning Commons.

LaGuardia Community College will launch Project COMPLETA: Comprehensive Support for Student Success, a three-tiered effort in service of low income and under-represented students. By strengthening pre-enrollment support, creating multi-disciplinary first-year seminars, and training active teams of mentors for each student, LaGuardia plans to engage students from the moment of their enrollment through their graduation.

The Department of Education’s First in the World Grant (FITW) program received nearly 500 applications this year. Nearly $75 million was awarded to 24 institutions throughout the country. "The First in the World grant competition is a key part of President Obama's agenda to foster innovative ideas that help keep college affordable, increase quality, and improve educational outcomes for our students," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The Department is proud to support the wide range of innovation at colleges and universities across the nation that can dramatically enhance student outcomes."