Hutchinson college loses federal grant

HUTCHINSON — Hutchinson Community College has lost a long-held $426,000 federal grant that funded a program for at-risk students.

College administrators said they were notified recently that the U.S. Department of Education had denied the school's application to renew the Student Support Services grant.

Dean of Students Randy Myers said the college had successfully renewed the grant for the last 43 years and that administrators have been exploring the possibility of appealing the decision.

"We are questioning why it was not renewed," Myers said.

The grant funded academic and social support programs for about 350 at-risk students. First-generation college students, students with a high level of financial need or students with an identified disability were able to qualify for the service.

The grant aims at encouraging these students to earn a four-year college degree. The grant also funded salaries of six staff positions. HCC was able to find employment for four staff members in other areas, Myers said.

He said if HCC does not win an appeal or chooses not to appeal, it will have to wait four years before reapplying for the grant.

HCC students receiving support through the grant program had higher retention and graduation rates than comparable students outside the program. And HCC officials said students in the program had an average grade point average that was one point higher than their peers.