Carl Albert State College awarded Native American FAS-TRACC Grant from The U.S. Department of Education
Carl Albert State College has been notified by U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin’s office that they have been awarded a Title III Native American Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) Grant. This is a Title III grant for institutions with at least 10% Native American enrollment that focuses on ways to improve Native American retention and graduation rates. It will also be used to increase the percentage of other high-need students who persist in and complete college education through the use of coaching, orientation classes, and by developing a Native American Center where grant-funded services and activities will be coordinated and provided by trained professional staff. In addition, the project will build institutional capacity to serve all students through the installation of enhanced distance learning technology to provide convenient access to required coursework to students at any CASC location.
Deborah Cummings is CASC’s grant writer and explained that the NASNTI Grant is for a total funding of $1,998,818 over a five year period from 10/1/2015 to 9/30/2020. She shared, “We named this program ‘Native American Freshman Achievement Strategy-Through Retention, Access and Coaching for Completion’ or NA FAS-TRACC to emphasize its focus on academic achievement and successful on-time graduation. One exciting aspect of this grant is the inclusion of professional tutoring for Virtual Campus students to provide parity between online and on-campus student services. Sarah Brown, CASC Virtual Campus Coordinator, brought this need to my attention and wrote the section addressing support services for online students. Thirty-five percent of CASC online students are Native American.”
According to CASC Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jason Morrison, the College received feedback on the grant proposal, and from the readers’ comments, it stated the CASC grant received a perfect score. “I offer congratulations to Deborah for a perfect score on this grant. This grant is very important to us, and Deborah helped make it possible.”
Cummings stated the grant will provide specific services for 250 students each year. “The Choctaw and Cherokee Nations will work closely with CASC through this grant to assure a full array of academic support services for CASC Native American students. However, much of the grant funding will positively impact the entire student body. Based on what this program will provide for students, we expect a significant rise in retention/completion rates.”
There are several personnel positions required for the grant. “We will be getting personnel in place as soon as possible,” stated Cummings. “The grant is very technology-based, and will offer an extensive list of services to the students served. We want to thank our Congressmen and the U.S. Department of Education for providing this opportunity for CASC and its students.”
CASC President Garry M. Ivey stated that grants like this one make a tremendous difference for what Carl Albert State College can do in terms of service for the Native American population served. “We can do so much because of this grant. There are many aspects that are vital for us, and we are excited with the opportunity to expand our commitment to our Native American students.” Ivey continued, “Thanks to Deborah Cummings and members of the Carl Albert team who assisted her in bringing this grant proposal together. Again, it is going to make a difference in the lives of many students in the coming years at Carl Albert State College.”