The U.S. Department of Education awarded San Jacinto College a $3 million grant that will allow the college to create a new advising system that aims to improve outcomes for Hispanics and other underrepresented populations, according to an Oct. 14 press release.

Joanna Zimmermann, associate vice chancellor of student services, is leading a five-year project to create the college's Integrated Planning and Advising System. IPAS will enhance student advisory services by including bilingual options to streamline communication and access to information across San Jacinto campuses, the release reads.

“Over the last several years, San Jacinto College has been focused on helping students achieve their educational goals by removing barriers to their success both inside and outside the classroom,” Zimmermann said in the release. “This grant builds on the work that we have been doing and will help us provide significant support for our students.”

Throughout the project, the college will redesign the advising model to include virtual advising, hire additional advisors, create a new student portal, improve student-faculty communications, and facilitate training for the new advising model, the release reads.

“This grant will provide necessary resources to assist in the development of an onboarding and advising process that is personalized, tailored to individual student needs and delivered by a team of professionals who are dedicated to each student’s success,” Zimmermann said in the release. “Our goal is to develop a student-centered, intentional, timely, proactive experience that seamlessly brings together onboarding, academic, career, financial and social supports, including improved software and communication tools that will reach students where they are on their unique journey. We are very excited about the tremendous impact that these funds will have on our college and on our students.”