Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) announced that San Joaquin Delta College will receive a $1 million grant from the Department of Education.
The grant, in the amount of $1,069,133, will be available for two years beginning October 1, 2008 and will be used to help assist underprepared Hispanic and low-income Delta students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.
“I spent my entire career as a scientist, mathematician and engineer,” said Rep. McNerney. “Scientific research is critical because it leads to the discoveries that fuel our economy, and I’m concerned having seen recent studies warning that the United States is falling behind other countries in science and math education.”
“That’s why I’m pleased that Delta College, an institution that is so accessible and serves so many in San Joaquin County, is receiving this grant to help improve science and math education – especially among Hispanic students,” Rep. McNerney continued.
Rep. McNerney has consistently supported efforts to improve STEM education in our country and to increase the number of qualified instructors at all levels. In fact, he authored a provision to increase math and science educational opportunities through a grant program for students who attend Hispanic-serving institutions, like Delta College.
Delta plans to use the Department of Education funds to strengthen its STEM education programs with the goal of increasing the number of Hispanic and low-income students who are academically prepared to either graduate or transfer with a long term goal of entering a STEM profession, as well as to improve the transfer pipeline between Delta and four-year institutions.
In particular, funds will be used to craft a STEM curriculum that matches that of four-year institutions to help ease transfers, conduct outreach to Hispanic and low-income families and students to promote STEM careers, upgrade STEM-related classroom equipment, and sponsor faculty workshops.
The Department of Education grant is being made under the College Cost Reduction Act Program, which was created as a result of legislation that Rep. McNerney supported and was signed into law in September 2007. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act cut interest rate on subsidized student loans and increased the value of Pell Grants scholarships.
The provision Rep. McNerney authored to create a STEM grant program for Hispanic Serving Institutions became law as part of the America COMPETES Act, H.R. 2272, in August 2007.
Upon hearing of the Congressman’s effort last year, Jose Hernandez, a mission specialist with NASA, originally from Stockton, said, “Opportunities will be created for many as a result of this provision. And it’s wonderful that an institution like San Joaquin Delta College, which serves as a springboard for so many people in San Joaquin County, will benefit and hopefully be able to add or enhance their science and math course offerings. In order for our country to remain competitive, we need more of our young people to develop the same love for science and math that I have.”