Lehigh Carbon Community College was one of two community colleges in Pennsylvania to receive additional federal grant funds to support students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help address long-term challenges the pandemic has created.
The college received $1.8 million through a competitive CARES Act grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
The funds are part of $112 million in Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity program grants that went to 62 institutions nationwide and are designed to support those with the greatest unmet needs related to COVID-19.
Montgomery County Community College also received a grant, an LCCC spokeswoman said.
“Many of our students continue to experience financial instability as a result of the pandemic,” said LCCC President Dr. Ann D. Bieber. “That often prevents them from continuing their college education. This project will address ways to ensure that students do not have to put their education on hold. For the college, we shifted quickly to remote learning, but want to make sure that the quality of the education at LCCC is the best it can be and continues to adjust to challenges.”
The college’s Institutional Resilience Initiative will serve students in Lehigh, Carbon and Schuylkill counties, as well as dual enrollment high school students in rural areas, a college spokesman said.
Through the grant, the college will provide emergency student scholarships for educational supplies. The grant will also support developing Open Education Resources for general education courses to reduce textbook costs for students.
An instructional designer will be hired to train faculty in online learning. Classroom technology will also be installed to cultivate natural, engaging hybrid learning environments, supporting both online and in-person teaching.
The project will expand college opportunities and lower costs for high school students in dual enrollment programs in seven rural school districts – Tamaqua, Mahanoy Area, Pottsville Area, Weatherly Area, Shenandoah Valley, Panther Valley and Northwestern Lehigh.
Dual enrollment students will have access to textbooks in general education courses for the next two years. A Dual Enrollment Excellence in Instruction Academy will provide training to high school dual enrollment teachers in best practices in using remote technology.l