Federal Grant Aims To Help Non-Traditional Adult Students Get Higher Education At OCCC

Wednesday, October 5th 2022, 9:32 pm


Oklahoma City Community College is getting more than $1 million to help older adults get a higher education. 

Those at the University said these resources are vital for a growing student population. More than 50% of the students at OCCC are minorities. 

The overall goal of this grant is to increase the number of non-traditional students who enroll in college. 

“We know that with first gen, low income, or marginalized populations sometimes the basic necessities are hard to come by,” said Crystal Mohamed, the OCCC Director Of the TRIO Grant Programs. 

“Either they need to learn English, maybe single parents, they could have transportation challenges, they could be having challenges gaining employment,” said Dora Licia Sandoval, the OCCC Director of Community Outreach Education. 

The new federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help more Oklahomans get a higher education through the university. Targeting Lincoln, Grady, Kingfisher, some areas of Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties. 

“As a minority- female myself it is something really powerful to see the support and the help and assistance, just the desire to want to see me do better. Want to see individuals that look like me do better,” said Mohamed. 

“We do have a population most recently just over 60% of Hispanic/Latino students that are participating in our program. About 28% that are of Mexican heritage,” said Sandoval. 

The $1.16 million TRIO grant will help first generation, English as a second language, military families, and low-income Oklahomans. 

“We will be connecting individuals to GED resources, admissions application process, their FAFSA application. If students are defaulting on their student loans navigating that process,” said the OCCC Director Of the TRIO Grant Programs. 

Services former TRIO recipient Mohamed said could be the one piece of the puzzle needed to get a higher education. 

“Making them feel like they belong here, helping them minimize that imposter syndrome that they may have and feeling like ‘hey I’m not supposed to be here’ but they are…I’ve done it,” she said. 

The program is funded to serve 850 participants every year for the next five years. 


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