Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon has been granted over two million dollars to boost online education.
The federal Department of Education recently awarded Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) nearly $2.25 million which will assist the College as it enhances the ways that it recruits and advises its online students, as it strengthens its technology infrastructure, and as it expands its online-only program offerings.
NCC competed with other colleges across the country and was awarded the grant funding for its nearly perfect score achieved during the rigorous application process.
“At its core, NCC is about quality service and success. All NCC courses are web-enhanced through technology in some way, and over two-thirds of our students now benefit from the flexibility of taking at least one on-line course. This grant will help us to strengthen our institution’s innovative use of technology, career guidance, and online learning environment to serve today’s students, enriching their student experience. Their success is our story,” said Dr. Alethea Stubbe, president of NCC.
College officials say that the first component of the grant will be to expand and enhance advising for online students. With the grant funds, NCC will expand its advising staff and will provide more technical services to enhance the ways that College interacts with its online-only students.
They say the second component of the grant will be to expand and enhance the College’s technology infrastructure. The grant enables the College to acquire newer software solutions and to hire additional computer staff who will integrate and implement the software solutions.
“Students, particularly online students, do their work and need assistance during hours that the College is normally closed,” said project director Gretchen Bartelson. “We need technical assistance to manage student needs during all the hours they are working on their online degrees.”
The third component of the grant will be to assist the College as it continues to grow its enrollments. Funds will be used to develop new online-only programs. These programs will be in the areas of graphic design, web-design, managing an office in “the cloud,” and IT helpdesk training.
“NCC has the highest graduation rate and retention rate among community colleges in Iowa. One reason for this is the intensive advising process for all campus students,” says John Hartog, Vice President of Student and Academic Services, “This grant will empower NCC to extend its good work of recruitment, advising, and instruction into its online programs.
Students from here in northwest Iowa and students from far away on the other side of the world will be able to train for exciting careers within an entirely online learning environment.”
Online instruction at NCC has grown over the past 17 years in both quantity and quality. This past June NCC was named one of the top ten online community colleges by Best Colleges (https://www.collegestart.org/community-colleges/).
The activities of this grant will assist the College in meeting the challenges of delivering quality instruction, at an affordable price to students anywhere and anytime.