By Omar Reyes / Staff Writer
The Project LAUNCH program, part of the TRiO Student Support Services at PCC, will close, Ellen Campbell, grant assistant of the TRiO Department, said Wednesday, Sept. 23.
LAUNCH stands for Learning Achievement Uniqueness Network Camaraderie Network and has supported more than 3,000 students since it began, said Margaret Antonio-Palomares, interim director of the program
The program which has been at LBCC since 1997, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. However, the program failed to receive support and was not refunded.
Students who are enrolled said they are saddened by the announcement, including Rocio Nava, 19, a communications major. “I think it’s very unfortunate that such a good transfer program is closing. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the counselors here and I really like them.”
Nava will be looking for other programs that offer services similar to LAUNCH, but would want the program to stay. “I would definitely work to help keep it in our college.”
Project LAUNCH provides free support services to eligible students who include first-generation college students, low-income students and learning or physically disabled students. Students also have to be enrolled with at least nine units at LBCC, have a minimum 2.0 GPA, complete Math 110 or higher, complete English 105 or higher and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Services include use of their small computer lab along with student printing, 1-on-1 tutor service, counseling services, student career and self-development workshops, transfer assistance, field trips to universities and assistance with Financial Aid and scholarships.
On why the program was declined funds, Campbell said, “Every five years we are on a grant cycle from the Department of Education and the grant is rewritten and read by readers the department hires and they score the proposal and after that, it has to reach a certain score to be funded. Our grant did not reach that score.”
Campbell said the program will try to transfer the students enrolled to other programs such as EOPS, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, which helps students affected by disadvantages. LAUNCH will keep its computer labs open until the Fall semester ends.
The counselors and staff working with the program will transition into other student support programs such as the GO (Growth and Opportunities) Project and EOPS, but Campbell is looking for positions at other colleges, saying “I’m confident I will find another position.”
In five years, Project LAUNCH will reapply for renewal. Campbell said, “My biggest regret and sadness is for our students that we serve at LBCC. I feel it’s been very helpful to any student who has been a part of our program and has utilized our services.”
TRiO office is open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. More information may be found by calling (562)-938-3201 or visiting lbcc.edu/projectlaunch/