Prairie State College October Grant Awards Exceed $5 Million

Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- In October, Prairie State College (PSC) was awarded several grants, totaling $5.1 million. The grants include several from the federal government, intended for use in the degree programs, and one from the state government, intended for use in the non-credit programs.

The U.S. Department of Education Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Program most recently awarded PSC two grants: the Academy for Student Excellence in Math and Science: Bioscience Initiative award, which will bring in $1.25 million over the next five years; and the SySTEMic Change at Prairie State College: Ensuring African American Student Success in Math and Science award, which will bring in $2.34 million over the next four years. Both grants are intended to improve the enrollment, retention, and degree completion of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

“These awards provide PSC the opportunity to meet major challenges in college and career readiness, retention, and degree completion, especially in disciplines where students need mastery of STEM subjects,” said  Dr. Adenuga Atewologun, vice president of academic affairs. “The grant leads to positive institutional impact, and we cannot afford to waste the opportunity. It is a unique privilege to be entrusted with the tools—highly qualified faculty, supportive college environment, and the funds—to make it so for our students and the district.”

Earlier in the month, the U.S. Department of Education awarded PSC a $1.15 million TRIO grant, dispersed over the next five years, to host a Talent Search Program for the southeast region of Cook County, one of the poorest areas in the state of Illinois. The goal of the Talent Search program is to identify and help individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.

According to Shawn L. Govan, dean of student services, PSC’s program will serve 500 student participants throughout PSC’s target area, which includes some of the communities’ most disadvantaged middle- and high-school students.

“Programming efforts are designed to encourage retention, graduation, and matriculation to the secondary and post-secondary level and beyond, in addition to providing both student participants and parents ongoing programming and educational workshops on financial literacy and the college financial aid process,” she said.

The PSC non-credit programs also were recognized with $360,000 in grant funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for on-the-job training assistance for unemployed workers in the area. 

Terri Winfree, vice president of community and economic development at PSC said, “we are absolutely thrilled to be positioned to offer assistance to the residents of our district. With the assistance of the new grant initiatives we can expand our offerings and serve a larger audience.”

PSC President Dr. Eric Radtke noted the importance of the generous funding in a time of continuing economic struggle. “We are pleased to know that these federal and state agencies recognize our needs and have the confidence in our ability to take on these major initiatives,” he said.  “These awards will help us expand and enhance the programs and services we offer our students as other sources of funding continue to erode.”