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Springdale institute students to receive emergency financial aid grants

by Mary Jordan | September 17, 2021 at 7:29 a.m.
Carlos Chicas, Board of Directors vice chair, discusses student diversity Thursday at the Northwest Technical Institute board's September meeting. (NWA Democrat Gazette/Mary Jordan)

SPRINGDALE -- Eligible Northwest Technical Institute students may receive emergency financial aid grants of up to $1,500, with no stipulations on how that money is spent.

The institute will be provided $571,176 to disburse to qualifying students through the American Rescue Plan, said Melissa Greenslade, student services director, during the school's Board of Directors meeting Thursday.

All students enrolled on or after March 13, 2020, are eligible for the grants, according to board documents.

Grants will be determined two ways. Students with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file with the institute when they were enrolled will automatically be eligible for the emergency grants based on the expected family contribution on their most recent application, according to the documents.

The expected family contribution is an index number used to determine eligibility for federal student financial aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid.

Students with an index number less than 10 will receive $1,500, those with an index from 10-5,000 will receive $1,200, those with an index of 5,000-10,000 will receive $1,000, and those with an index of 10,000 or more will receive $800, according to the documents.

Students without a Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file will be eligible for the grants based on the institute's emergency student grant application, according to the documents. The application will require students to provide a description of their financial need, according to the documents, and grants of up to $1,500 will be awarded.

Anthony Doss, board secretary, asked how students may use the grants.

Greenslade said grant payments will go directly to students, who may use the money however they choose. Grants don't have to be used on students' education.

A date on when grants will be paid is yet to be determined, Greenslade said, adding the institute is waiting for the money to be released by the state.

In other news, Greenslade announced the institute has 1,280 students this year.

"We believe and intend over the course of the year to serve more than 2,000 students," said Jim Rollins, institute president. "Our enrollment will continue to grow."

The institute is a state-supported school offering several programs for high school students and adults, including welding, industrial maintenance, diesel technology, nursing and information technology.

The institute historically has had an enrollment of 1,200 to 1,300 annually, administrators said.

Rollins said new program offerings for business, construction and commercial driver training will help fuel an enrollment increase.

A 16-week construction program was scheduled to begin Aug. 23, administrators said, but has been postponed to an undetermined date, said Robin Eason, vice president of instruction. The program will serve 50 students and provide participants with internationally recognized National Center for Construction Education and Research certification.

There's been limited interest in the program to date, she said.

The business program was scheduled to begin Sept. 2 and has been postponed to start Monday, Eason said.

About seven students have enrolled in the program, which will focus on topics such as human resources, accounting and office management, she said. Classes will vary from three weeks to three months and will offer industry-recognized certifications, to include a certification in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program, for up to 60 students its first year, she said.

The commercial driver training program began Wednesday with five students, said Michael Dewberry, apprenticeship director.

Students who successfully complete the training and driver's test will receive a commercial driver's license, allowing them to drive professionally across the country, he said.

Ten cohorts of 20 students will have an opportunity to participate in the four-week training sessions annually, Eason said.

The construction program will cost about $1,800 to complete, Eason said.

Training for the business program varies from $450-$1,200 and will cost $2,100 total to complete three modules of training. Students don't have to take all modules to participate in the business program, Eason said.

The commercial driver training program costs about $4,000 to complete, according to the institute's website.

More News

Board officers

The Board of Directors on Thursday voted 5-0 to extend its current board officer positions for another year. Derek Gibson, chairman; Carlos Chicas, vice chairman; and Anthony Doss, secretary, will all maintain their positions. Board members serve five-year terms, Gibson said.

Source: Northwest Technical Institute

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