New Mexico State University Alamogordo was awarded a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program to fund a project that will help Hispanic and low-income students complete degrees or certificates and prepare them to enter the workforce or a four-year institution.
The five-year grant will fund an initiative called “Ready, Commit, Continue and Complete.”
“The initiative represents a systemic effort by NMSU Alamogordo to make improvements in student recruitment, completion and transfer, particularly for Hispanic, low-income students,” said Michelle Perry, associate vice president for Extended Programs at NMSU Alamogordo. “Specific outcomes will include increased enrollment from the local area, increased fall-to-fall retention rate, increased graduation rate and increased transfer-out rates.”
The initiative is driven by academic, institutional management and fiscal stability goals.
Under the academic program goal, Perry said, NMSU Alamogordo will work to increase efficacy to ensure more Hispanic and low-income students complete a certificate or degree plan that will lead toward placement into the workforce or a four-year institution.
As part of the institutional management goal, NMSU Alamogordo will provide data, access to data and training on how to access, interpret and utilize data to promote student success across all administrative and academic units, Perry said. Under the fiscal stability goal, the campus will improve student opportunities through increased revenue from external funding sources, new enrollment and improved persistence to degrees, she added.
“This is a terrific opportunity for NMSU Alamogordo to help low-income students complete a certificate or degree that will lead to placement in the workforce or transfer to the main campus,” said Ken Van Winkle, executive branch manager for NMSU Alamogordo. “I want to thank the committee and its leader, Michelle Perry, for its efforts in crafting the proposal. This is especially great news for Alamogordo in light of the recent challenges brought on by our state’s economy and the pandemic.”
NMSU Alamogordo also will use funding from the grant to direct budgetary expenditures to key personnel who will provide “intrusive advising” for students along every step of their journey toward a degree or certificate completion, Perry said.
Additionally, professional development funds for faculty and staff will support the new software platforms purchased for student management and will provide important instruction on best practices for faculty and staff.
“One of the most important topics for professional development will be how to serve a diverse student body,” Perry said.
The grant was announced by U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., whose congressional district includes Alamogordo.
“As we continue through these uncertain times, investing in our students’ futures and supporting their growth takes on a renewed importance,” Torres Small said. “I’m proud to share NMSU Alamogordo will receive a $3 million grant to support student success by investing in the academic and professional development of Hispanic and low-income students. This grant award is a testament to NMSU Alamogordo’s commitment to preparing students for the workforce and serving a diverse student body.”