College to share in grant

COVINGTON -- DeKalb Technical College will be able to use nearly half a million dollars in grant funds to serve low- and middle-income black students.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that six sites in the Technical College System of Georgia, including DeKalb Technical College, will be awarded a total of almost $2.4 million in federal grants to improve the colleges' abilities to serve those students.

"This program provides valuable resources to ensure that African-American students are successful in college," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release. "Schools funded by this program will play a vital role in meeting President (Barack) Obama's goal for America to once again have the highest college completion rate by the end of the decade."

A total of 23 colleges throughout the nation received $10.8 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education's Predominantly Black Institutions undergraduate program, which supports predominantly black colleges that have undergraduate enrollment that is at least 40 percent black and at least 50 percent low-income or first-generation college students. Designated Georgia technical colleges will receive about 22 percent of the grant total, the largest awarded to any one state.

"Our colleges put forth a great amount of hard work to receive these funds, but the result was well worth the effort," said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. "We want as many students as possible to realize the value of a college education. These grants will help us to bring more African-American students into our technical college classrooms and labs and, ultimately, help to create a better-educated and more versatile 21st Century work force for Georgia and our nation."

DeKalb Technical College is set to receive $482,613 this year through the grant, which was awarded to institutions that offer programs in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health education, internationalization or globalization, teacher preparation or improving educational outcomes of African-American males.

"DeKalb Tech has, and will always serve the educational needs of all our student population, but this financial assistance from the Department of Education will allow us to assist a particular group of students who often face challenges that inhibit their education," says Dr. Robin Hoffman, president of DeKalb Technical College. "This grant will assist us in recruiting, retaining and graduating African American students."

The funds may be used for a wide range of projects to establish or strengthen programs at the institutions to increase the institution's capacity to prepare students for instruction. Programs include ones that are structured to encourage elementary and secondary school students to pursue a college education, as well as the development of tutoring, counseling and service programs that will improve academic success.

DeKalb Tech shows that it serves 6,180 black students this school year, approximately 75.2 percent of its student population. Almost 42 percent of TCSG's 191,000 students are black.

Atlanta Technical College will receive $419,198 as part of the grant; Columbus Technical College will get $453,338; Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin is scheduled to receive $250,000; Central Georgia Technical College in Macon expects $545,397; and Sandersville Technical College will be able to use $272,252.

TCSG colleges offer more than 600 certificate, diploma and degree programs. More information about the TCSG is available by visiting www.tcsg.edu

DeKalb Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, provides academic and technical education for employment in a global community. The college has eight centers of learning in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. More information is available by visiting www.dekalbtech.edu.