News Releases

October 14, 2011
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921


A Million Dollar Focus on Student Success

Clark College has received a $1.68 million grant
to support student success and completion


VANCOUVER, Wash. – A $1.68 million grant will allow Clark College to take The Next Step to support student success and completion in Southwest Washington. 

The Title III grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education under its “Strengthening Institutions” initiative. The grant will be administered over five years:  $371,687 (2011-2012), $374,095 (2012-2013), $380,581 (2013-2014), $305,322 (2014-2015) and $250,126 (2015-2016).

Associate Vice President of Planning and Effectiveness Shanda Diehl said, “Clark College is committed to student success. Coming against the backdrop of sharp state budget cuts, this grant will allow us to move up the timelines for our efforts in program assessment and advising.  It will allow us to start taking some important steps this year to support our long-term advising plan and develop new and innovative programs to increase our student completion rates.”  Diehl added, “These grants are highly competitive.  This news is exciting, and it will have a real impact on our students, Clark College and the region.”

The funding will be used to support three distinct areas.  First, it will fund improvements in program assessment, which is the process colleges and universities use to make sure that students have truly learned what they were supposed to learn to earn their degree or certificate.  Second, it will fund improvements in advising, a service offered to students to help them reach their goals.  Finally, it will allow the college to explore new and innovative teaching strategies with a learning focus.

All of these efforts will be centered around increasing the completion rate from 20% to 30% among the degree-seeking Clark students who use the services funded by this grant.  The national completion rate for public, two-year colleges is 22%. 

Clark College President Robert K. Knight said, “Our mission is to provide opportunities for every student to succeed. By continuously reviewing and assessing our academic programs, we can ensure that our students are getting the best possible education and that we are truly meeting the needs of our region. At the same time, we know that advising is critically important in the long-term success of new and returning students.  Through advising, they learn about programs, choose courses, and find the resources and tools they need to be successful.” 

Knight added, “With the state now providing only about 40% of our funding and more state budget cuts pending, dollars from grants and donors are critically important to our ability to effectively support our students and our region in new ways.”

About Clark College

Established in 1933, Clark College serves Clark County, Skamania County, and the western section of Klickitat County.  The population of the service district is almost one-half million people and is expected to grow 8% over the next five years.  Clark is one of 34 community and technical colleges in a system under the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.  In 2010-2011, the college served more than 22,000 students accounting for almost 11,000 (10,988) credit full-time equivalent students.  Currently, 15,526 students are enrolled at Clark College for fall 2011.  That includes 10,237 full-time equivalent students, a two percent increase from fall 2010.

Clark College is a comprehensive college offering both career and technical education (CTE) and academic programs in addition to its adult basic education and corporate and continuing education programs.  Of the credit students enrolled at Clark College, 43% are pursuing career and technical education, 40% are academic/transfer students; 10% are adult basic education; and 7% are pursuing other educational opportunities.  Slightly more than half (52%) are part-time students.  Half of Clark College students are non-traditional (ages 25 and older); and 59% of credit students are female.  The students are more racially diverse than the region.  Almost 25% are students of color compared to 16% of the population within the community.  The largest student of color populations are Hispanic (9%), followed by Asian/Pacific Islander (5%).