Delegation Announces $781,718 Grant to Help CCRI Aid Students

Aug 16, 2016 Issues: Education, Rhode Island

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced today that the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) has been awarded $781,718 from the U.S. Department of Education to help Rhode Islanders pursue post-secondary education. CCRI will use the funding to continue the work of its Rhode Island Educational Opportunity Center, which provides support and assistance to low-income and first-generation students seeking post-secondary education and training.

“CCRI does a great job of reaching out to students and providing them with opportunities for academic and career development. I am pleased CCRI is receiving this important funding to help students broaden their horizons and help the state build a stronger workforce,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for U.S. Department of Education programs.

“Every year, CCRI helps thousands of Rhode Islanders learn the skills they need to find better jobs or prepare for a degree at another college or university. This funding will help CCRI guide low-income and first-generation students as they pursue their education, and strengthen our workforce in the process,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “Congratulations to CCRI on winning this award and thanks for all you do to help Rhode Islanders succeed.”

The funding will help the Educational Opportunity Center deliver services to an estimated 2,900 eligible participants in Rhode Island, including assistance with applying for financial aid and college admissions and general guidance on achieving educational goals.

“The Community College of Rhode Island is an agent of social mobility for so many adults who want to go back to school and further their education, giving them the skills and qualifications they need to be more competitive in the workforce,” said Langevin. “It’s never too late to pursue your dreams or make a better life for you and your family, and this program will help CCRI to support those who want to do just that. Congratulations to CCRI on winning this grant and best of luck as you work to increase opportunities for all Rhode Islanders.”

“Expanding access to affordable higher education is one of the best ways to create economic opportunity for young Rhode Islanders and strengthen our local economy,” said Cicilline, who serves on the U.S. House Community College Caucus and is leading the effort in Congress to ensure strong funding for Pell Grants. “This funding is going to make it possible for low-income, first generation students in Rhode Island to get a degree and enter the workforce with the skills they need to get ahead. I’m delighted that the U.S. Department of Education is providing this critical funding for CCRI.”

Experts project 71 percent of jobs in Rhode Island will require postsecondary education or training by 2020.

“In its 37-year history, the Rhode Island Educational Opportunity Center program at CCRI has helped thousands of Rhode Islanders improve their lives through postsecondary education,” said Dr. Meghan Hughes, CCRI president. “We are thrilled RIEOC has been funded for another five-year cycle so it can continue providing vital services to over 3,000 adults each year, most of whom are the first in their family to attend college.”

The funding comes through the Department of Education’s Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) grant program, which provides funding to support counseling and guidance on college admissions to qualified individuals seeking a post-secondary education. In addition, EOC provides services to improve participants’ economic and financial literacy, including instruction on basic personal income, household money management, and financial planning skills. Another key goal of the program is to aid participants in finding and applying for financial aid and helping with their application process.