Lamar State College Port Arthur using $50K grant to boost 1st generation, economically disadvantaged students

Published 12:28 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Life for students at Lamar State College Port Arthur just got a whole lot easier.

The college was notified this week that it received a $50,000 Accelerate Student Success Planning Grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. LSCPA is one of 80 colleges and universities across the state to receive part of the more than $4 million grant.

This financial windfall allows LSCPA to better assist students with more engagement among incoming freshmen, enabling better student success and retention, leading to more degrees and certificates being awarded.

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First generation and economically disadvantaged students are the focus population in this endeavor.

“There are plenty of challenges in being a college student in the best of situations,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Pamela Millsap said. “Here, there seems to be unending obstacles that are often beyond our control. Hurricanes, winter storms, unemployment and seemingly unfettered inflation all combine to make being a successful college student so much more difficult.

“This generous grant will not only provide more activities to keep new students engaged and moving forward toward their degrees and certificates, it will also bolster supplies like food and supplies that students need to maintain their momentum through school,” she said.

Since the start of the pandemic, the LSCPA Food Pantry and LSCPA Seahawk Closet have been popular and much-needed resources for students.

As part of the grant expenditure by the college, these free services will provide the availability of even more food, hygiene products, cleaning and school supplies.

“Food insecurity, especially with the country’s rising prices right now, is a serious issue among our students,” Millsap said. “There are several factors that make Lamar State College Port Arthur students vulnerable in the college environment.”

More than 94 percent of LSCPA students work to pay for college, which means that a majority of them, 66 percent, are only able to attend part time.

Additionally, factors such as minority ethnicity, first generation enrollment, and low socioeconomic status put students at risk for failing to complete their college credentials.

In addition to the growth in availability of food and supplies, the college will utilize the grant to provide at least four high quality first-year experience activities for the Fall 2022 semester incoming freshmen, focusing especially on the at-risk students who have been identified.

Among the proposed activities are a De-Stress Fest, How to Choose a Major/Career, and workshops on Time Management and Organization Skills, Financial Literacy and Health and Wellness.

Students who are enrolled at Lamar State College Port Arthur can access the Food Bank and Seahawk Closet by contacting Kiet Le, director of student activities, at calling 409-984-6191. His office is open during the summer Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

The campus returns to its regular Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours Aug. 1.

— By Gerry L. Dickert