The NCC Foundation is celebrating our 50th Anniversary in 2015-2016. Working with NCC President David L. Levinson, Ph.D. to determine the most urgent needs of the College, our goal is to raise $5 million to support the following five key initiatives:
- Student Success and Scholarships
- Transfer Scholarships for High-Achieving Graduates
- Faculty and Program Support
- Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development
- Unrestricted Gifts Answer the Greatest Need
Norwalk Community College was founded in 1961 and is the oldest public two-year college in Connecticut, with an annual enrollment of nearly 15,000 students in both credit and non-credit programs. NCC has served over 170,000 students to date and more Fairfield County students attend NCC than any other post-secondary institution.
Recognizing that Connecticut has the largest K-12 academic achievement gap in the nation,* NCC embraces the diverse needs of its students and provides an environment that empowers individuals to reach their highest potential. From the infant enrolled in NCC’s Child Development Lab School to the retiree who joins the Lifetime Learners Institute on campus, we are a resource for all ages.
NCC is truly the educational center of our community, providing opportunities for intellectual inquiry, open dialogue, multicultural awareness and lifelong learning. The majority of NCC graduates continue to live in Fairfield County, providing an educated and committed workforce for local employers. When NCC students succeed, our community succeeds.
*Connecticut Commission on Children
Student Success and Scholarships
NCC is a racially, ethnically and academically diverse college. NCC has been recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Dept. of Education (37% of NCC’s students are Hispanic). A significant proportion of NCC students are low-income, minority and first generation students, and many come from homes in which English is not the primary language. Students come from 63 countries representing 32 languages.
Ninety-percent of NCC students reside in 11 Fairfield County towns (Stamford and Norwalk comprise more than 60%). Approximately 65% of full-time students and 45% of all NCC students receive some form of financial aid. Many of these students struggle to overcome major challenges such as childcare costs and transportation as they pursue their educational goals.
Sixty-percent of students are 24 years or younger, however the older students bring the average age to 27. Nearly a quarter of students are parents themselves and 60% come from families where neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree.
NCC has a primary goal of empowering students to graduate with a marketable degree or certificate, or to transfer to a four-year institution within three years. With an open admissions policy, not all students who attend NCC enroll with the tools they need to succeed. A key roadblock is that many of NCC’s first-time students have graduated from high school, but are not prepared for college level coursework in math, English or both. Complex factors contribute to this picture. NCC is working hard to address the many hurdles that prevent student success.
As a member of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) National Reform Network since 2005, NCC has researched and implemented best practice strategies to improve student outcomes. Innovations include learning communities, cohort based instruction, academic supports, coaching and pre-college summer bridge programming. These interventions are making a significant difference, as evidenced by NCC’s selection in 2011 by ATD to Leader College status, one of only 15 community colleges nationwide selected to participate in this initiative. NCC earned recertification of Leader College status in 2013 and continues to focus on Student Success initiatives.
The NCC Foundation scholarships have a profound impact on our students. Nationally, most community college students finance their education through a combination of Federal Pell grants and loans. At NCC, our best students can graduate debt free. NCC Foundation scholarships have more than doubled in the past 10 years. In addition to our traditional Spring and Fall semester scholarships, we offered Winter and Summer scholarships for the first time this year so that students can accelerate their graduation!
The Path Scholarship Program, which began in 2012, demonstrates how the NCC Foundation has helped increase student success. Forty-one students, in two cohorts, were selected for Path, which provides participants with individual coaching as well as a grant for full tuition and fees. To date, 25 students have transferred to four-year institutions. When compared with a control group, students in the Path program consistently demonstrate higher graduation rates, grade point averages, and course completion rates – 93% have either graduated from NCC or are still in school pursuing their degree.
Please download the Path Program Overview for more information.
With a 30% increase in scholarship applications this year, the NCC Foundation’s annual funding available from the endowment can no longer cover the immediate scholarship needs of current students at NCC. Please hear our students speak about the impact of their Foundation scholarship on their personal success, as featured in a “Thank You” video available in the: Student Video Showcase
The NCC Foundation awards transfer scholarships for high-achieving NCC graduates who make a commitment to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university. These students have worked hard at NCC, excelled in their academic disciplines, and realize the value of further postsecondary education in improving economic security for themselves and their families.
The Foundation Scholarship Committee reviews all transfer applications including each applicant’s financial resources and personally interviews each candidate. All scholarships are paid directly to the student’s account at the four-year school. The NCC Foundation administers and monitors all scholarship awards and tracks student outcomes.
Transfer scholarship funding is intended to reduce loans or make it possible for students to work less outside the classroom and complete their degrees more quickly. Here are the highlights of our three primary transfer scholarships:
The LEAP Transfer Scholarship offers financial assistance and opportunity to NCC’s top scholars who, despite all social and economic obstacles, graduate from NCC with academic distinction of a 3.5 or higher GPA. They must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and agree to pursue their bachelor’s degree on a full time basis. Since 2008, the NCC Foundation has provided $1.1 million in LEAP scholarships to 151 students attending 35 colleges and universities including Bard, Columbia, Fairfield, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Sacred Heart, University of Bridgeport, the CT State Universities and UConn. Please download the LEAP program summary for more information.
The Dream Transfer Scholarship supports childhood immigrants who graduated from U.S. High Schools, graduate from NCC with a 3.0 or higher GPA, but are not yet U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The selection is based on a combination of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, community service, and financial need. A mentor is provided to each student through the NCC Foundation.
The RN to BSN Transfer Scholarship will work to address the critical need for bachelors trained nurses (BSN) at Stamford, Greenwich and Norwalk hospitals. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine released a landmark study, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health which recommended that 80% of nurses should be prepared with at least a BSN. Hospitals seeking Magnet Recognition for their nursing programs must have a plan in place to reach this goal by 2020.
To meet the growing need for bachelor’s-trained nurses, NCC has created a strategic partnership with Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) that includes coursework and instruction on the NCC campus. Students take 30 credits over four academic terms to earn a BSN from WCSU. During the Fall 2014 launch, 23 of the 27 enrolled students were NCC alumni. The additional bachelor’s degree tuition is $14,000, which can be a big hurdle for our students, who typically spend less than $8,000 for their Associate Degree/RN.
At the NCC Foundation, we are committed to offering nursing transfer scholarships and will be targeting NCC nursing graduates from the past three years who demonstrate a commitment to Fairfield County through residency, current employment or both.
When we started the transfer program in 2008, the Foundation awarded 11 scholarships and 100% of these NCC graduates also graduated from their four-year schools. This year we awarded 50 scholarships. The dollar amount of these awards is constrained by the funding we currently receive, which must be 100% generated each year; there are no funding reserves.
Faculty and Program Support
The College offers 45 career and transfer Associate Degrees, 26 Certificate programs, as well as professional, extended studies and workforce education programs. Approximately 100 full-time faculty and 275 adjunct instructors teach at NCC.
Currently, the Foundation is funding five new faculty positions at the Center for Science, Health and Wellness (CSHW), which was built and equipped with the generous support of our local community. After the first three years, the College will assume future funding for these CSHW faculty positions.
This year, the Foundation supported the Start2Finish program for our first-time, full-time students. NCC was able to change the first year experience for these students by enrolling the majority in a freshman seminar, establishing an early alert system, improving academic planning and advising, and building a dedicated team of success coaches. This group is almost a year ahead of past cohorts in completing college level English and math courses.
Examples of other recent Foundation grants to advance the College experience include:
This e-portfolio platform allows all students to showcase their work electronically to supplement and enhance a traditional resume.
Provides first-year students with a shared academic experience that introduces them to NCC’s educational community where intellectual discourse is fostered and valued.
Uplift College Tours
The goal is to demystify the process of higher education for men of color through academic support, intrusive counseling and on-site visits to four-year institutions.
In 2015, students performed in the firstever NCC musical production of Avenue Q to a sold out audience.
Every year, the College is improving best practices strengthening both the breadth and depth of the NCC student experience. The Foundation’s support for faculty and academic programs has increased 85% in the past year alone. This level of funding is not sustainable without additional support.
Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development
Entrepreneurship at NCC is defined as a process by which an individual or team recognizes an opportunity, develops an idea around that opportunity, and applies initiative, creativity and innovation to transform that idea into something that creates value.
Our vision is to create a diverse entrepreneurial community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that encourages creative and innovative ways of viewing and improving the world. Our mission is to infuse entrepreneurship throughout the NCC community and across all academic disciplines by fostering a culture and specific strategies to integrate and support entrepreneurship at all levels.
Our campus-wide position recognizes that while not every student wants to be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense of starting their own business, all students can benefit from learning to think and act like one. Encouraging the development of an entrepreneurial mindset will broaden a student’s frame of reference, complement their technical or disciplinary degree, and enhance their future marketplace potential.
Through a combination of activities— faculty collaboration, direct student involvement in the classroom, the development of online resources and tools, and creating events and competitions outside the classroom— the program seeks to infuse the traits and skills associated with being an entrepreneur.
The NCC Foundation provided funding for an entrepreneur-in-residence, Rob Chernow, for the past academic year, which resulted in two firsts for the College:
- • All 500+ public speaking students (a required course at NCC) learned an important entrepreneurial skill this Spring: how to create an elevator pitch to promote an idea. Through multiple elimination rounds, eight students ultimately competed for cash awards in the Foundation- sponsored “Got Ideas” competition during the April Academic Festival.
- • NCC hosted a Summer Entrepreneurship Institute. Twelve NCC students and alumni participated in an intensive 30 hour Kauffman FastTrac New Venture program over 10 weeks with the goal of creating a business plan that would be ready to present to Foundation investors.
Workforce Development at NCC touches the lives of corporations and small businesses throughout Fairfield County. Two-thirds of NCC’s degree seeking students attend the College on a part-time basis because they are simultaneously employed in our community. The majority of working students are employed 20+ hours a week.
NCC Career services are focused on finding paid internships and long-term employment for both current students and alumni; NCC’s professional career counselors conduct resume and interview preparation workshops along with an annual Career Expo. NCC College Central is an online job database accessible to both students and local employers interested in taking advantage of our educated workforce.
NCC is a strategic partner in two new initiatives which promise to change the face of local workforce development for decades to come. Rather than considering high school (9-12) and community college (13-14) as two distinct steps, the goal is to create a seamless transition by creating “9-14” schools.
Norwalk Early College Academy
The Norwalk Early College Academy’s (NECA) mission is to provide a practical, no-cost, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-focused education that enables 100% of its participants to graduate with a high school diploma and an accredited associate degree in six years or less. It is a partnership between Norwalk High School, Norwalk Community College and IBM. NECA is part of IBM’s Pathways in Technology strategy (P-TECH); all students are matched with IBM mentors and all students who earn their Associate Degree from NCC are guaranteed an interview with IBM.
This 9-14 school is collaboration between J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford and Norwalk Community College. In addition to promoting academic success and career technical education mastery, this partnership allows students to have a head start in achieving their associate degree. Potential career paths include automotive, carpentry, culinary arts, digital media, electrical, facilities management, health technology, information systems, plumbing and heating, and tourism, hospitality and guest services management.
Both NECA and Wright Tech welcomed their freshman classes in Fall 2014.
NCC also has an Extended Studies and Workforce Education Division offering an array of non-credit courses ranging from health care and public safety to real estate, English as a second language, and college for kids. Students of all ages and levels of experience are exposed to new fields of interest or can enhance their skills across a variety of disciplines.
Networking and community outreach by the Foundation Board Directors has been instrumental in connecting NCC students with paid internships and NCC alumni with new employment opportunities. The Foundation also funds critical student support services for career interest assessment and coaching.
To experience the excitement of entrepreneurship and workforce development at NCC on a first-hand basis, please enjoy our “Elevator Pitch Competition” and “Alumni Career Panel” videos available here.
Unrestricted giving provides the Foundation with the flexibility to capitalize on unanticipated opportunities or challenges as they present themselves throughout the year. To be awarded a Foundation grant, the College must submit a written proposal detailing the project goals and activities, how this funding will advance NCC’s strategic plan, measurable outcomes, a timeline and a detailed budget. Recent examples of utilizing unrestricted gifts include:
- • Providing seed money so the College could hire an entrepreneur-in-residence for the 2014-2015 academic year.
• Creating a part-time role in the Foundation to support the College with mentoring and other community volunteer initiatives.
• Supporting a group of eight NCC culinary arts students traveling to France with their professors for academic immersion during spring break.
Rather than needing to match restricted funds with very specific donor mandates, these unrestricted contributions provide flexibility for the Foundation Board of Directors to review new proposals and approve appropriate spending for NCC’s greatest needs as they occur.
As much as we try to plan ahead for the future, in a public education setting, there are many variables beyond our control. Budget cuts from the State of Connecticut make it virtually impossible not to reduce faculty headcount and limit the critical student support services that NCC can offer. Compromising on academic outcomes is not an option. Unrestricted private funding allows the Foundation to turn on a dime in addressing NCC student needs.