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Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) are excited to announce that NEO was awarded a $2 million federal grant from the United States Department of Education to improve technology and extend educational access. The grant is the third Title III grant in the past 5 years totaling over $7 million. “NEO A&M College greatly appreciates the tremendous support we continue to receive from our area tribes and tribal leaders,” said Dr. Jeffery Hale, president. “One thing we certainly share in common is our absolute commitment to creating high quality educational opportunities for all of our citizens of northeastern Oklahoma. I’m grateful for the many partnerships that we have developed with the Inter-Tribal Council and pledge that NEO will continue to build trust and results into our relationships with the American Indian tribes.”

The United States Department of Education provides funding for the Title III grant. Title III grants aim to expand an institution’s capacity to serve low-income students and NEO’s designation as a Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution (NASNTI) allows the College to culturally align curriculum and support services developed. Twenty-three percent of NEO students are Native American and Diverse Issues in Higher Education” rank several of NEO’s degree programs among the top ten institutions that graduate the greatest number of American Indian students.

The funds from the grant will create a Network Security program option for Computer Science majors that will allow students to make use of a new, state-of-the-art computer lab. To extend access, 37 courses from NEO’s Agriculture, Process Technology, Psychology, and Business programs will be enhanced and redesigned for online or hybrid delivery. To compliment the new flexible curriculum, NEO will also improve developmental and gateway courses, increase academic support resources, simulate on-the-job experiences via innovative gaming technology, add mentors to its American Indian Center for Excellence (AICE), and infuse curriculum with cultural preservation micro-documentary projects. The program will also make off-site computer labs available for students who have unreliable or nonexistent internet access. The labs will reduce the financial strain on low-income students. The infrastructure of NEO’s campus will also receive upgrades to support the new programs and increase campus safety. All of the additions will come at no additional charge to students.

Officials at NEO expect enrollment to increase because of the new services. “We are very pleased to be able to work with NEO and the programs they put together, Dr. Hale has been a great ally and I truly appreciate all the work of him and his staff,” said Chief Ron Sparkman, chair of the Inter-Tribal Council and Chief of the Shawnee Tribe. “We believe the work they are doing not only benefits the Shawnee Tribe, but also the four-state area.” For more information about distance learning at NEO, visit neo.edu/academics/resources/distance-education/

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