ARCHES receives $2M in federal funding

The Achievement, Retention, and Commitment to Higher Education Success program received the Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education at the start of fall semester resulting in a 3.5% increase in funding for the program over the next five years.

ARCHES is a program under the Disability Resource Center that provides academic advising, peer tutoring, peer mentoring, workshops and events to students registered with the DRC and hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. One-third of the program’s beneficiaries are low-income students.

The grant process takes places every five years and ARCHES partnered up with the DRC to start writing the 60-page proposal. Tracee Passeggi, director of the DRC, explained how U.S. Department of Education selects which programs receive the grant.

“The granting writing process is not easy, so it’s a very competitive competition. It’s a 60-page proposal that’s graded by three different readers.”

Eddie Rangel | The Poly Post

ARCHES has written and been awarded the grant five times, as they are entering their 24th year at Cal Poly Pomona.

As a supplemental program, ARCHES relies completely on grants for its funding, whereas the DRC is state funded. Passeggi explained that the grant is used to pay for salaries, services and technological equipment.

Passeggi discussed ARCHES’ shift to online services and what students can expect in the future.

“A lot of students have liked tutoring remotely since we have gone virtual,” Passeggi said. “There’s students that can see a math tutor at 8 p.m. at night instead of the hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. when ARCHES is open.”

Patricia Duran-Quezada, project director for ARCHES, explained how the staff used evaluations to enhance ARCHES website to better fit the virtual world.

Duran-Quezada did not expect to receive a raise in the budget, but explained that, in reality, the program’s budget is still stretched thin.

“You try to be creative with what you get because it sounds like a lot of money but it’s really not when you think of the public services we have to offer and to offer salaries that are competitive, which they never really are; they are always below what everyone else is making on the state side,” Duran-Quezada said.

ARCHES plans to create a new resource coordinator position to oversee its online services such as the scheduling service, CPP Connect. Additionally, the program will focus on financial literacy by providing modules, videos and worksheets with the program iGrad.

ARCHES is focused on supporting its students through their academic journey as they work toward the graduation initiative.

Alumnus Scott West (’20, mathematics), who tutored for ARCHES from spring 2019 to spring 2020, explained why a program like ARCHES deserves the grant, “Number one, you know you can have accountability and be checked on that you are achieving the goals you want. Number two, you are at a place where you know you have support and you know you don’t feel inadequate and that you can achieve what everyone else is striving to achieve,” West said.

ARCHES is still accepting applications. For more information on how to get involved as a student or a tutor, visit their website.

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