Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Awarded $3.3 Million ‘First in the World’ Grant to Make Higher Education More Accessible to Students

Published: September 30, 2014

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Awarded $3.3 Million ‘First in the World’ Grant to Make Higher Education More Accessible to Students

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been awarded a grant totaling $3,301,524 from the U.S. Department of Education to help make higher education more accessible to students and help guide them toward degree completion. The Island University has the distinction of becoming one of only 24 colleges and universities around the nation to receive the 2014 “First in the World” (FITW) grant.

The Department of Education awarded a total of $75 million under the FITW grant program.

“This award will continue to move us forward in our commitment to excellence and to ensure that our students have access to the best education possible,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is constantly working to provide greater educational opportunities and tools to help our students succeed.”

The grant project titled, “Absolute Priority III – Increasing Enrollment and Completion of Underrepresented, Underprepared, or Low-Income Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degree and Certificate Programs,” was submitted by Dr. Patricia Spaniol, Executive Director for Programs for Academic Student Support (PASS), which include Student Support Services (SSS), the Title V-STEM Outreach, Access, and Retention (SOAR) program, and the McNair Scholars Program.

“After receiving nearly 500 applications from around the country, we’re excited to announce that Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will receive a First in the World grant, funded for the first time this year,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Each grantee demonstrated a high-quality, creative and sound approach to expand college access and improve student outcomes. We are confident these projects will have a positive impact on increasing access and completion and help us reach President Obama’s 2020 goal, to once again have the highest share of college graduates in the world.”

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was chosen based on its commitment to increasing college access and completion as well as making higher education accessible and affordable for all students. The Island University was also one of six universities considered a minority serving institution to receive the FITW grant. Universities who were awarded the grant will create strategies to address several issues including increasing STEM enrollment and completion, developing online experience for adult students that incorporate virtual learning communities, and developing new project-based majors that allow for self-pacing and acceleration.

The FITW grant is a key part of President Obama’s agenda to foster innovative ideas that help keep the cost of college affordable and ensures that the quality of educational programs continue to increase. For the 2015 fiscal year budget, Secretary Duncan has requested an additional $100 million to expand support for the FITW grant. For more information, go to http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fitw/index.html.