by Ellen Thompson
Havre Daily News
Stone Child and Fort Belknap colleges will each have nearly $2 million over five years to help meet long-term goals. Administrators at both colleges learned last week that the colleges were awarded competitive tribal college grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
Fort Belknap College received the same five-year grant five years ago, and will continue to fund similar projects, said college President Carole Chandler. Previous positions such as a staffer to coordinate technology and one to do assessments will continue to be funded, as well as one new position, a staffer who will coordinate student retention efforts.
Stone Child College received the same grant six years ago, and will put the money toward streamlining work in the college business and financial aid offices, said President Melody Henry. Grant money will also go toward long-term planning and a staffer to carry out assessments of school programs.
Though Fort Belknap College has received the same grant in the past, it's not a matter of course, Chandler said.
"It's good that people see we are credible and we get grants other colleges strive for," she said. "There was a time when we weren't in this position."
Stone Child College is still working on ways to keep some student services in place that the Department of Education formerly funded, Henry said. Administrators learned in April that a student services grant that would have been worth $1 million over a few years was not renewed.
The most important aspect of that grant was the tutoring program it funded, Henry said, and Stone Child plans to find a way to continue to provide that help.
"We're not going to have that gap for students," she said.
As for long-term planning, the main goal is building the school's endowment, Henry said.
The new grant will provide $50,000 to the endowment on the condition that the college raises an equal match. It's an aspect of the grant Henry said she's excited about fulfilling.
Clarena Brockie, dean of students at Fort Belknap College, said the college will be putting $100,000 of the grant toward its endowment and will be working to match that over the five-year life of the grant.
"Maybe to a large university a $100,000 endowment is nothing, but to us it's a lot," Chandler said.