ELAC receives five-year, $3 million grant

By Ivan Cazares

East Los Angeles College will receive $3.6 million in grant money over the course of five years.

ELAC applied for an individual development five-year grant through the Fiscal Year 2015 Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, which awarded it $2.6 million.

The remaining $1 million comes from another grant application led by Los Angeles Valley College.

LAVC, ELAC and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College will share $3.25 million in grant money.

Funds acquired through the grants can only be used to accomplish the approved goals and objectives.

ELAC’s plans emphasis “web enhanced learning,”  Dean of Resource Development John Rude said.

“We need to bring faculty up to speed,” Rude said. He pointed out students knowledge of technology and the need for the college to be up to industry standards if not ahead.

The grant will benefit ELAC’s Distance Learning Program. The distance program oversees online learning and programs like ACE.

The United States Department of Education approved both applications, which include an outline of plans to improve faculty training and form workshops that would benefit students and staff.

The Department of Education points out the strengths and weaknesses of grant recipient’s applications and requires progress reports.

Grant applicants conduct self evaluations and satisfaction surveys to asses their progress.

“It is important to note that continuation of funding following the first year of your grant is contingent upon substantial progress in meeting the approved goals and objectives,” Division Director of Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division Beatriz Ceja said in a letter attached to the Department of Education’s review form.

The development of a school app centered around student services is a part of ELAC’s plans for the grant money.

“We hope to draw students to the campus instead of making it seem like an alien environment. The school website tries to do this, but it’s not as simple as an app can be,” Rude said.

ELAC also has plans of establishing a learning and innovations studio. Faculty could use the studio to develop projects for students to collaborate on.

The studio could also be used to introduce students and staff to new software. Rude said that it is likely this studio be established in the corporate building recently acquired by ELAC, located at 1055 Corporate Center Drive.

The application outlined ELAC’s plans to set aside $80,000 and deposit it in an endowment fund administered by the ELAC Foundation.

An endowment fund is similar to a trust fund with the difference being that an institution has access to the money instead of certain individuals. “ELAC would benefit from this money for years to come,” Rude said.

Approximately 250 similar institutions nationwide are starting to use endowment funds to fund projects and establish long-term stability according to Rude.

The Department of Education encourages grant administrators to become thoroughly familiar with the Developing HSIs Program Authorizing legislation. An administrator for ELAC’s grant money has not been chosen.

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