LMC Awarded $3 Million Grant to Improve Student Success

Oct 27, 2017

Lake Michigan College has been awarded a $3 million federal grant to help more students successfully set and reach their academic and career goals.

LMC was the only Michigan community college selected by the U.S. Department of Education to receive the Part F Title III Strengthening Institutions grant. The grant helps higher education institutions improve outcomes for academically underprepared and low-income students. Only seven colleges received the grant out of 103 institutions that applied nationwide.  

“We submitted a strong, student-centered plan focused on results. Evidence here at LMC, and from case studies at other colleges prove that carefully guided career and academic planning profoundly improves student success,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Leslie Kellogg.

The grant will support a new, five-year student success initiative called Guided Pathways. It is designed to help all students establish informed education and career goals early on in their academic experience.

The initial college entrance processes will become easier for students and families to navigate. Faculty advising will be expanded and there will be increased focus on assisting students with making meaningful career choices as quickly as possible, ideally within their first semester.

LMC is also reorganizing class curriculum and streamlining academic programs to help students graduate or transfer more efficiently. Students will be able to connect how each completed course and earned credential moves them closer to their goals. Career pathway areas will be clearly mapped to ensure graduates can further their education at other institutions and smoothly transition into the labor market.

The grant will support new student retention strategies and technology that monitors students’ progression along their chosen pathways, and will trigger interventions like advising, coaching, mentoring and other support services when they need it most.

LMC will broaden the scope of services to support LMC’s most at-risk students, including English as a Second Language courses, and expanded coaching and tutoring.  

Some of these student success strategies were developed and refined through LMC’s Start to Finish program which serves Benton Harbor Promise Zone students. The program was supported largely by grants received from the Whirlpool Foundation, the David & Barbara Whitwam Foundation, the Frederick S. Upton Foundation, and the United Way of Southwest Michigan.

“It’s all about helping each student reach their goal, which ultimately impacts our entire regional economy and quality of life.” Said Kellogg. “We are very honored and grateful to have been selected.”