By Temo Olvera/Staff Writer

Missouri Valley College could receive almost half a million dollars every year for the next five years if a proposed grant is funded.

After a year of data gathering and writing Elizabeth Bellamy, associate dean of students, will work with a professional grant writer and consultation firm to apply for the Federal Title III grant, “a strengthening institution program.” 

“It’s hard to get,” said Gary Heisserer, Institutional Effectiveness Director. “Very competitive.”

There are two competitive preference priorities: specifics that the grant evaluators will look for. The first is student services. Schools that will fund projects for academic success and student retention are more likely to be approved. 

Kelley Fuemmeler, a co-chair of the Communications, Humanities, and Human Services Division, said Missouri Valley College has a very unique advantage because it has more one-on-one between students and faculty. She said this interaction can be lost in core classes because of the class size and teaching load. 

Bellamy said the grant could expand co-curricular classes beyond Math and English. Co-curriculars allow for an extra two hours a week for instruction. 

Bellamy said the funds could enhance tutoring, the Blosser program, counseling, and financial services as well. She said counseling includes mental health, academics, and career. She said the grant would allow the college to hire a financial literacy officer. 

The second competitive preference priority is career-oriented. Schools that will fund work-based learning are more likely to be approved. 

“We could have internships locally and out of state,” said Bellamy. 

Some courses require an internship as part of the curriculum. Many internships are unpaid. Bellamy said she knows a student who is interested to intern in Washington D.C., but the cost of living is so great it may not be possible. She said the school could develop a stipend for student interns.  

Cydney Mayfield, Marshall Saline Development director, is working to build a business incubator; a space to bring college students and community businesses together. 

Bellamy said she wants as much input on where the funds should go and believes everyone has an important voice.

“I have visited every single office,” said Bellamy. 

In her pursuit, she would pass out two Index cards, one labeled “MVC” and the other “Division.” They were for participants to give ideas on how the funds could solve a problem or further develop the college. 

Fuemmeler said the addition of the learning center, student success, and counseling center have made support more accessible. She said the college should improve these existing programs. 

“You don’t want to grow beyond what you can handle and still stay true to who we are at our core,” said Fuemmeler. 

Karen West is the grant writing consultant at Bryne and Pelofsky + Associates LLC. The consultation firm specializes in fundraising for nonprofits

“I’m so thankful we could get a professional grant writer,” said Bellamy 

Bellamy said the federal review has strict guidelines on the formatting of grant applications. She said she is learning a lot about grant writing. 

If Missouri Valley does not receive the grant this year it can apply next fiscal year. Bellamy said they will receive feedback on their application and can make adjustments. She said the process, regardless of funding, had been valuable because of the data collected and understanding of the grant process.