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Farmingdale State Receives Federal Grants to Better Student Experience

Farmingdale State College received more than $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education.

was recently awarded $3.2 million in the form of two prestigious grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The grants will enable FSC to serve students better and were both written and directed by Dr. Beverly Kahn, a professor of political science at the college.

The grants - a Title III “Strengthening Institutions” grant of $2 million and a TRIO Student Support Services grant of $1.2 million - aim to serve the unique needs of FSC students.

According to demographics, 93 percent of Farmingdale students are commuters, 48 percent receive financial aid and 43 percent are first generation college students.  According to Dr. Kahn, studies have revealed that students who fit the FSC profile frequently have difficulty in college and many do not complete their education.

To assure that FSC students succeed and graduate, the college will use the grant funds to enhance teaching, provide robust summer orientation and support programs, create an Academic Advising Center and offer increased opportunities to students for internships, research with faculty mentors, field trips, study abroad and career counseling.

“The mantra is 'Students First,'” Dr. Kahn said.

The TRIO Student Support Services grant involves the Farmingdale First program, which focuses on 180 students who are at-risk of not thriving in college. Students who are the most vulnerable are first generation college students and students from low-income families. Despite having financial aid, these students often have to juggle long hours of work, sometimes being both full-time students and employees.

The Farmingdale First program gives these students extra support. Every year 40-45 incoming freshmen will enter a two-week summer residential program and take first year experience courses. Throughout their years in Farmingdale, they will learn how to make electronic portfolios and receive advice on financial literacy. They will be exposed to a dynamic learning environment with real-life applications such as educational trips.

The Title III grant intends to serve all FSC students, through grants to professors to help them transform their classrooms into engaging learning centers. There will also be more opportunities for students to collaborate with their professors on research by co-authoring papers and giving presentations.

W. Hubert Keen, the president of Farmingdale State College proposed the Students First program to make sure that the students could take advantage of what the campus could offer them, like the location.

“There is a concentration of businesses throughout Route 110,” President Keen said. President Keen has seen students receive internships at these businesses that turned into full-time careers.

FSC is also taking steps to help students graduate earlier, with a database they are developing to make sure students are taking courses that will help them graduate on time. There is also an effort to keep records electronically, so the campus can go paperless.

“We want to keep our students on track,” Dr. Kahn said.

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