The $1,776,855 grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education under the “Title III: Strengthening Institutions Part A" program, will fund improvements to online and hybrid courses and allow the college to implement new, compressed academic schedules in the coming years.
The grant will also fund a new technology-based student relations system, which will allow college staff to monitor student progress from enrollment through graduation and send targeted communications to students regarding performance, course requirements, important term dates and other information.
"I am extremely proud of our staff for working so hard to secure this competitive grant, which will create new course options and enhance support services for thousands of local students," said interim Brookdale President David Stout. "We are very excited for this opportunity to reimagine the student experience and provide new opportunities for students to grow, succeed and achieve their goals at Brookdale."
The long-term goal of the grant is to substantially improve student persistence, retention and completion rates, particularly for low-income and minority students.
Compressed academic schedules, which would offer students the option of completing fewer courses in seven or eight weeks rather than balancing five or more courses over a 15-week term, can provide a more streamlined and manageable workload for students balancing jobs, families and other obligations, Stout said.
Enhanced online courses and increased hybrid course offerings would similarly increase access for students balancing multiple responsibilities outside of class, he added.
“Brookdale Community College has long-been the jewel in Monmouth County’s crown, and the awarding of this grant is further proof of their outstanding value to this community,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “The Board of Chosen Freeholders is so proud to support the efforts of Interim President Stout and the Board of Trustees as they work toward providing a world-class educational experience for all who study at their institution.”
The grant will provide annual funding to the college from October 2017 through September 2022, beginning with $437,395 for the 2017-18 school year.
“As an alumnus myself, I am thrilled to see the commitment of the faculty and college administration to provide state-of-the-art facilities and services for those who choose to further their education at Brookdale,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley, liaison to Brookdale.
“In order to retain students and grow future enrollment, it is imperative that investments be made in curriculum, infrastructure, and support. Fifty years ago, the Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized there was a critical need for college-level education in this region, and this grant goes a long way toward making those laudable goals a reality. Congratulations to Brookdale for this most impressive achievement.”