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Local colleges receive federal grant funding
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Modesto Junior College, California State University, Stanislaus, and Merced College will all receive millions in federal grant funding, the schools announced this week, due to their designation as Hispanic Serving Institutions.

The grant money, specifically intended to increase enrollment and degree completion by Hispanic and low-income students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, is much needed, said college leaders.

“We are a critical pathway for Hispanic and low-income students seeking careers in STEM fields,” said CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani. “The HSI-STEM monies are truly vital to serving the needs of students who face significant barriers to educational attainment in the STEM disciplines. Given the severe cuts imposed on both the CSU and community colleges over the past several years, we must continue to aggressively pursue external funding sources if we are going to be able to both sustain and grow valuable programs like this, which will enable us to carry out our essential mission and continue to serve the educational needs of our students and communities.”

CSU Stanislaus will receive $5.5 million over five years. The initial, $1.1 million installment, will be awarded for the 2011-2012 academic year.

MJC will receive $4.3 million over five years, which will be used to establish a math and science learning hub, offer workshops and tutoring, provide Tablet PCs for math faculty and student use, and provide math and science models for student study.

Merced College will receive $863,219.