$16.9 million to be used for statewide online education

Randi Vanible

In November 2013, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges awarded a $16.9 million grant to the partnership of the Foothill-De Anza and Butte Glenn community college districts to lead the launch of a statewide Online Education Initiative.

The initiative is Gov. Jerry Brown’s comprehensive plan to support and increase access and success within the existing California Virtual Campus.

The initiative is designed to increase the number of Associate’s Degrees for Transfer by allowing students the ability to register at volunteering colleges, complete specified courses and easily transfer those courses toward the completion of their degree.

“If a student is a Foothill student taking a West Valley course, why don’t we allow it to be transferrable?” asked executive dean for the initiative and FHDA vice chancellor of technology Joseph Moreau. “How can we unburden students with the bureaucracy we have to deal with so they don’t?”

The goal of the initiative is to improve retention and success among California community college students who want to earn an associate’s degree by increasing the amount and accessibility of online classes and providing them with the amenities to help them continue on to four-year universities.

Community colleges that wanted to lead the initiative were required to submit an application that met the requirements developed by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

FHDA and Butte-Glenn submitted a 165-page proposal within a six-week deadline.

“The grant proposal was so good, it outdistanced every other applicant, giving us a perfect score,” said FHDA Chancellor Linda Thor.

The grant went into effect Dec. 1, 2013, with FHDA and Butte-Glen expected to hire a permanent staff to oversee the initiative by April 1.

The partnership will receive $16.9 million over the first seven months and potentially receive a total of $56.9 million over the next 55 months if the initiative produces favorable results.