GCC Receives Grant to Ease Transition to College

April 30, 2020

Greenfield Community College has been awarded a $120,186 state grant for the first year of a new program that will provide extensive support to adult students as they make the challenging transition into college.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded a three-year grant to GCC, with $120,186 for the first year. The grant will enable GCC to establish a Transition to Community College Program and cover the cost of 15 program participants’ tuition, fees, texts, and supplies. GCC will partner with adult basic education programs including The Literacy Project, Center for New Americans, and the International Language Institute, as well as the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

GCC President Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernández said that the transitional program “is designed to help adult learners make the often-difficult transition to college-level classes by providing the support and the academic foundation they need to achieve both their college and career goals. GCC’s program is rooted in an overriding objective: To connect adult learners to educational opportunities that will lead to gainful employment.”

The full-year program at GCC will commence in the fall 2020 semester. The program will offer intensive advising alongside courses such as a College Success class, required general education classes, and electives that count toward degree or certificate programs. Students will be fully supported by an advisor dedicated to their academic success, instructors, and peers as they work to attain college-level skills and build their academic confidence.

Tonya Blundon, interim Director of Advising, Career, and Transfer at GCC, said “GCC’s Transition to College grant could not have come at a better time. This pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty about the future. GCC’s program will offer stability to some of our most affected community members by making education more accessible. Eligible adult learners will earn a minimum of nine college credits at no cost, plus they will get personalized support outside the classroom to help them navigate other aspects of being a college student, like time management and using technology. In this uncertain landscape we want to help students make choices that will sustain them, and their families, for the long term.”

Chief of Student Affairs Anna Berry added, “GCC is very excited to offer this specialized program that specifically addresses the transition needs of adult learners who have completed a high school equivalency degree.  We want people to know that there are many different pathways to a college education and one of them is the high school equivalency process.  A high percentage of our students have taken this path, and this program will provide excellent supports to ease the transition and help students persist as they work toward their educational goals.”

Judith Roberts, executive director of The Literacy Project, says, “The Literacy Project teachers in our Greenfield, Orange, Amherst and Northampton classrooms are thrilled to have the opportunity to enroll our adult students in GCC’s Transitions to College program. We envision the high school equivalency degree as a stepping stone to community college.  The Transition to College program targets nontraditional students and supports them as they transition to higher learning. The Transition to College Program will enable Literacy Project graduates to successfully enroll in Greenfield Community College programs. Adults who join the workforce with community college degrees are better able to support themselves and their families and the whole community benefits.”

To learn more about GCC’s Transition to College Program and how to get started, please email Tonya Blundon at blundont@gcc.mass.edu.

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