Federal education grant supports Bronx Community College’s criminal justice program

Bronx Community College will be expanding its criminal justice department, thanks to Uncle Sam.

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the BCC with a $3.7 million grant that will strengthen the criminal justice program and increase the number of students earning degrees from the program. The college was notified about the grant in October of last year.

“This grant will provide the college and our students with a resource stream to offer the best quality education and workplace training possible,” said Dr. James Freeman, chairman of the department of Social Sciences at BCC, and co-director of the grant. “In addition, this grant will help BCC to integrate with high schools in the community and introduce students to the criminal justice field, proving them with hands-on assistance and support from high school to BCC, John Jay and career opportunities.”

The criminal justice program is for students interested in careers in police science, law, security management and other law-related fields, and is a joint-degree program with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. About 700 students are currently enrolled in the program.

The money will be given out over a period of five years and will be spent on laptops, technology support, intensive advisement for students, mentor and career development programs, as well as outreach to local high schools. The grant will also give students the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to learn firsthand about the federal judicial system, job opportunities and to meet with criminal justice experts from across the nation.

“This grant will help us to better prepare our students for challenging and rewarding career in the criminal justice field,” said Michael Roggow, director of CUNY Collaborative Programs and Freshman Communities, and co-director of the grant. “I am delighted that the U.S. Department of Education is helping us to better serve the students of the Bronx Community College.”

The grant is known as a Title V, “Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions” grant. Six colleges were given grants this year. The grants are meant to expand the educational opportunities of Hispanic students. Officials with the college did not say what percentage of the student body is Hispanic.

According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the grants are an important contribution toward the goal of ensuring that colleges serving Hispanic offer high-quality programs and provide support services to help their students succeed.

“We can meet President Obama’s goal of having the highest college completion rates among students of all races, ethnicities and income levels,” Duncan said.

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