Amarillo College soon will be $2.6 million dollars richer. On Sept. 22, college officials announced that AC has received a Title V grant. This year marks the third year AC has received the Title V grant. It lasts five years and provides the school with $525,000 annually and about $2.6 million over the five-year time frame. In order to be eligible for the grant, for the current fall semester, 25 percent of school’s students must be Hispanic. Almost 40 percent of AC students are Hispanic, which helped the college qualify for the grant, said Cara Crowley, AC chief of staff. “Around 500 schools applied for this grant, and only 25 to 50 were awarded. It is really exciting for Amarillo College,” Crowley said. “This is a great honor for AC and a recognition of what we have already done in developmental ed and other areas to ensure student success,” said Dr. Deborah Vess, vice president of academic affairs. Students also should be excited about the grant, according to college officials.This grant will have a very big impact on student learning and attainment of the desired learning outcomes,” Vess said.She explained that the grant will help AC increase retention, persistence and completion rates by enhancing student engagement in the learning process. AC also will use the grant to help boost students’ ability to progress through necessary developmental education. In the previous years, the grant has aided in the redesign of several key gateway courses, which are the classes that all students have to take. Vess said the grant money will assist AC in developing “high-impact approaches to key gateway courses.” “Faculty will redesign and accelerate the developmental education sequences in math, reading and writing and place those courses within the context of credit-bearing courses,” she said. “Students will take developmental education courses in learning communities where they will be able to also earn credit through credit-bearing key courses.Students will be able to apply key skills addressed in developmental education to real problems related to areas in their chosen career paths.” Ruth De Anda, the language, communication and fine arts adviser, said she looks forward to seeing how the grant will continue to improve developmental education. “I think we are always considering what can change to have students succeed in the developmental courses,” De Anda said. “I’m hopeful that with this grant, we can implement new things that will continue to work towards the success of our students.”The grant also will fund the purchase of more state-of-the-art equipment and creation of high-tech classrooms – changes that would not be possible given AC’s current budget situation. “Funding has been decreasing for community colleges on the state level, and grants such as the Title V grant allow us to do things that otherwise we would not have the funds to do,” Vess said. Receiving the grant also marked the conclusion of a long application process. “Many of the faculty, staff and administrators here worked with a professional team of grant writers to develop a grant that was very focused and in line with current higher ed trends and issues,” Vess said.