Bellingham Technical College receives grants for STEM programs

BELLINGHAM -- Bellingham Technical College just unveiled a new $650,000 grant to strengthen their STEM programs.

In 2019 Bellingham Technical College will be offering 12 students a free ride to study engineering and change their lives.

“Whenever you say ‘Hey! I got a bunch of money for you to go to school.’ Students are like yeah! I want to do that,” Jill Davishahl said.

Davishahl is responsible for bringing the National Science Foundation Grant to BTC.

Starting in the fall of 2019 the 5 year $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will kick in. The majority of that money goes directly to 3 rounds of 12 student scholarships. Only requirements: you have to be a low-income student to qualify and have to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

But the grant has a bigger picture:

“To build this inclusive community of students where they can depend and support each other and it really helps them achieve this goal of graduation. Students get distracted along the way a lot of times… life events, they cant pay for school and we lose them,” Davishahl explained.

In exchange for the funding, the faculty will be doing research on how the scholarships - along with mentorship and community building - affect the student’s retention and completion.

“The student population is really driven. They want to come to school, they want to get through and get a job. They’re not just driven, but goal-oriented,” Davishahl added.

These new scholarship opportunities make BTC that much more competitive in the landscape of technical colleges in the Pacific Northwest.

Enrollment is up 14% for the incoming school year this fall. The new scholarship once it rolls out this coming year, is also expected to increase interest and enrollment at the college.