Sierra College has received a two-year, $2 million state grant to expand a highly successful partnership with Sacramento State, regional high schools, and community colleges to ensure that more students successfully transition to college and complete degrees and certificates in a timely manner.

The four community colleges in the Los Rios District – American River, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake, and Sacramento City – will join Sierra as part of the regional Basic Skills Pilot Partnership grant. Together, they will work alongside Sacramento State and the Sacramento County and Placer County offices of education to significantly reduce the number of high school students requiring further remediation after high school graduation.

The competitive grant, awarded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, is largely in response to the ongoing statewide need to improve college readiness, with an added emphasis on mathematics, an area of concern for the region. Currently, 55 percent of incoming freshmen at Sacramento State must take remedial math courses. The expanded partnership will address this challenge.

“This partnership with Sierra College and the Los Rios Community College District represents a strong concerted effort to improve the math skills of students in Placer County and the Sacramento region, and to reduce the number of students who have to take remedial classes before they can take classes for credit,” says Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen.

“We are very excited to be able to expand the program to our regional partners,” says Sierra College President Willy Duncan. “Seventy percent of our incoming students require further remediation in math. Our senior math course for college-bound high school students has proven to be highly successful at reducing this number. This program will mean that students can reduce both the time and cost to complete their degree."

Los Rios Chancellor Brian King says his district is enthusiastic about joining a regional consortium committed to student success: “This is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate, innovate, and then motivate our students to progress more quickly along pathways to academic and professional achievement.”

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors awarded a total of $10 million in grant funding for the Basic Skills Pilot Partnership grant. Five community college and CSU partnerships across the state will receive a portion of the funds. By fall 2018, the Sacramento regional partnership expects to serve upward of 6,000 students a year. – Craig Koscho