Kilgore College has been selected to receive a U.S. Department of Education 2017 Part F Title III Strengthening Institutions grant worth $2,998,352 over a five-year cycle.
KC was one of only two two-year colleges to receive a Part F grant and the only Texas college to be awarded a grant from either of the two Title III programs.
Only seven colleges nationwide received the Title III grant out of 103 institutions that applied.
The grant will be used at KC to upgrade the college’s technology infrastructure, improve student retention and drastically increase the number of online class options at KC with about 50 online courses being designed or redesigned.
The increase of online classes will allow students to complete an associate’s degree in computer networking entirely online and an associate’s degree in criminal justice almost entirely online.
It will also fund a Faculty Innovation Center where full-time and part-time KC faculty members will work in groups or individually with an experienced instructional designer to establish online courses and supplemental materials.
“This is a proud moment for Kilgore College as we strive to make a profound impact on the lives of our students with increased options thanks to upgrading our technology,” said Dr. Brenda Kays, KC president. “We could not be more excited about receiving the Title III grant. Technology is paramount in expanding options for our students and increasing our student success rates. Without improving and upgrading the technology in the classroom, on-campus and online, it is virtually impossible to do so.”
The grant will also provide stipends for faculty members who design or redesign online courses; wireless networking equipment to support the creation, delivery and access to online courses; closed captioning services to comply with Section 508 and ADA regulations; membership and support of Quality Matters, an industry-recognized nationwide leader in online course best practices; establishment and implementation of an online course readiness assessment; establishment and implementation of a new online advising system; and re-design and implementation of an online orientation system.
Money from the grant will also allow the purchase of video and audio editing equipment to be used by instructional designers and support staff working with faculty members. It will also fund professional development for faculty and staff to travel to conferences related to Title III and best practices in online learning.
Based on responses to a Spring 2017 student survey 36 percent of KC students have commutes of approximately 40 miles roundtrip with some students traveling 80 or more miles roundtrip.
In addition to the hardship of the commute to campus, job and family obligations create significant challenges for many KC students who attempt to attend classes on campus.
More than half of the KC student population works a job outside of school, 37 percent work more than 20 hours per week and 43 percent of students have children to care for.