From A News Release
Officials at Northern Oklahoma College are excited to announce that NOC was awarded a $1.75 million federal grant from the United States Department of Education, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, to improve technology and extend educational access. The grant will be awarded over a five year period beginning with the Oct. 1, 2016 – Sept. 30, 2017 budget period.
The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) program grant and related assistance awarded to NOC is for the purpose of improving academic programs and fiscal support for student services.
“NOC is thrilled to be awarded this federal funding to help Native American students by enhancing academic services to assist them in achieving their academic goals,” said Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC president. “I’m proud of our grants staff and committee members along with other employees who have worked so hard to help bring these new resources to our students. We look forward to working with the tribal governments of our students as we develop new ways to help more individuals have the life changing experience of completing a college education at NOC.”
NOC is Oklahoma’s oldest two-year, public Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution with a home campus in Tonkawa and other college locations in Enid and Stillwater and also offers online and interactive television courses to reach time and place-bound students. NOC service area is a vast predominantly rural area covering 13,500 square miles, includes 14 counties and is home to six tribal jurisdictions: Tonkawa Tribe, Osage Nation, Kaw Nation, Ponca Tribe, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, and Pawnee Nation. Many service area residents struggle with high levels of poverty and low educational attainment.
NOC’s mission to provide “high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services...” is critical to the region’s residents, and the college serves as the educational access point for thousands of disadvantaged area residents. In fall 2015, NOC served 4,642 students, 12% (548) of whom were Native American. More than half (55%) of NOC’s students are enrolled part-time; 81% are first generation in college; 59% are low income; a fifth of students (20%) are age 25 or older. Based on spring 2016 survey results, most NOC students work (61%); almost a third are parents (30%); and 62% commute, many traveling 30 miles or more to campus.
Northern is particularly interested in better serving its growing Native American student population. Native American enrollment at NOC has grown by 42% over the past 10 years; one in every eight NOC students is Native American. There has been a significant increase in online enrollment among its Native American students, and area tribes are poised to work with NOC to promote Native American postsecondary success.
To better serve Native American students, NOC formulated a project entitled, “Merging Tradition and Technology: Engaging Native American and Low Income Students to Complete College.”
The project includes three related initiatives. Number one is to expand access to high demand, high quality courses by redesigning 30 online courses to meet “Quality Matters” certification standards, adding interactive television (ITV) classroom and computer lab access sites at six area tribal centers to promote Native American student enrollment utilizing ITV and online courses. The second initiative is to develop and improve online services to update static online services to be interactive and data-driven to promote student success. The third is to support Native American student success by developing culturally-aligned tutoring and mentoring, cultural and language preservation activities both on campus and online, professional development for faculty and staff on strategies to support Native American student success and establish a new Cultural Engagement Center to house new support services and resources.
NOC has been recognized nationally by external studies as among the best educational values in the country with exceptional four year transfer rates and career outcomes for graduates. Recently “Smartassets” ranked NOC number three and “WalletHub” as number 16 in the nation out of over 850 institutions.