The U.S. Department of Education announced that nine Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) colleges will share $23.5 million from two federal grants. The money is for improving the colleges' abilities to serve African-American and low- and middle-income students.
Eight TCSG colleges, including Albany Technical College, were awarded a total of $10 million which will be distributed in increments over the next five years from the Predominately Black Institutions (PBI) Formula Grant Program. Five of those colleges, plus one other, also received $13.5 million under the PBI Competitive Grant Program.
The PBI program supports colleges that have undergraduate enrollment that is at least 40 percent African American and at least 50% low-income or first generation college students.
Georgia's share of the grants, which were announced on Sept. 30, is the largest number and highest dollar amount given to any state.
The formula and competitive grant funds may be used for a wide range of projects, including programs that are structured to encourage more students to pursue and complete a college education. The money can also pay for the development of tutoring, counseling and service programs that will ensure students' academic success, as well as upgrades to the colleges' learning facilities.
In a prepared statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "These grants will help build the capacity of colleges that educate large numbers of African American students. Strengthening these schools is critically important to increasing student completion and meeting President Obama's goal of being first in the world in college graduates by 2020."
Albany Technical College, Atlanta Technical College, Augusta Technical College, Columbus Technical College and Georgia Piedmont Technical College each received a $2.4 million competitive grant, which will be paid in $600,000 installments over four years. South Georgia Technical College was awarded $1.5 million from the competitive grant, also distributed over four years.
Albany Technical College plans to use the money for their Engineering Technology programs, which include Electro Mechanic Engineering, Telecommunications and Civil Engineering.
"We are excited about this great opportunity to introduce deserving high school students, who might otherwise not be exposed to such career choices, to a variety of careers in Engineering Technology and related fields," said Dr. Anthony Parker, President of Albany Technical College.