No Federal programs (grants, loans, etc) specifically target rural and technical community colleges. Instead, they group rural with suburban and urban colleges, leading to fierce competition. They sometimes include narrow aims or eligibility requirements that mainly apply to rural institutions, but finding them is a shot in the dark.
RCCA serves here as a lighthouse, illuminating these opportunities and steering our members toward them. We also help our members network with the relevant federal agencies and provide grant writing assistance.
In addition to grant writing assistance, we provide consulting services including:
Governance (roles and responsibilities of community and tribal college trustees);
Leadership for department chairs, deans, and vice presidents;
Economic development, strategic planning/facilitation, and fundraising;
New program creation and curriculum consultation.
We want to help our members to improve their operation and service to students and stakeholders. In support of this aim, we’re building a library of online training programs available to all of our members (also offered as inservice training). Expect this to launch in late 2019 or early 2020, including courses such as:
Best practices in online education;
How to calculate and demonstrate your institution’s value;
How to engage students in advocacy and activism.
As part of a network of rural colleges facing similar challenges and opportunities, RCCA members gain exposure to new ideas and a stimulating community of peers.
We facilitate a peer-to-peer support and information sharing network and jobs board. Members can join our listserv to be notified of projects, grants, loans, and other news that could impact their college, or they can participate in our monthly conference calls and ongoing committees. We also host an annual conference where our members can gain exposure to effective strategies in education and rural development. By sharing our challenges, solutions, curricula, and ideas, we can all more effectively serve our students, communities, and stakeholders.
The past few years have seen a renewed focus on our rural communities in the national political conversation, and we are seizing the opportunity to tell our story. Operating a college in a rural area is different than operating a college in an urban or suburban area. Smaller, more geographically dispersed student bodies; specialty degrees servicing local industry; demographics and populations served – these do matter and impact how we operate.
RCCA advocates for institutions, through a push for more accurate federal classifications and new approaches to funding; and for students, through support of Pell grants and specialty degree programs.
RCCA has forged effective relationships with the White House Rural Council, key leaders on Capitol Hill, and key federal agency officials including at the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Energy whose programs are vital to rural America.
Through those relationships, we keep community and tribal colleges in the spotlight, increasing awareness of their value, and fighting for resources and programs critical to member colleges and their students. Advocacy with the White House Rural Council (visits made in 2012, 2013, 2015), U.S. Department of Education (2011, 2012, 2013); U.S. Department of Agriculture (2012, 2013, 2015).