July 15, 2024

Newman University Receives $1.2M Towards Higher Education Access for Southwest Kansas Initiative

Wichita, Kan.–Newman University has learned that it will receive $1,200,000 for the Newman University Higher Education Access for Western Kansas Initiative, a comprehensive effort to bring bachelor’s degree programs and updated technology to the underserved area of Southwest Kansas. The program benefits all students enrolling in the new program, with a focus on agribusiness. 

Southwest Kansas is in dire need of higher education opportunities. Currently, Southwest Kansas is considered an “educational desert,” meaning there are no institutions offering four-year degrees within a 100-mile radius of Garden City and Dodge City. Approximately 500 students graduate from Garden City High School annually, and of these students, only 40% will go on to earn an associate degree. Of those students, only a fraction currently go on to receive a bachelor’s degree. After extensive research and reviewing the American Council of Education studies on the “place-bound students” phenomenon, it is clear that many students will not leave home for school due to employment needs and family obligations. 

This initiative provides Newman University with an opportunity to combat these statistics and meet the needs of Southwest Kansas students where they live by partnering with Garden City Community College, Dodge City Community College and Seward County Community College. Students can now earn their associate degrees through their respective community colleges, then seamlessly transition into Newman University’s bachelor’s degree program. Courses will be on-site in the community college classrooms taught by Newman University faculty, who have a strong tradition of serving diverse students. Without this program, higher education may otherwise be unattainable for many of these students. 

These funds will go toward classroom technology which allows for in-person and hybrid learning, further encouraging aspiring students who are also working adults to join the program. “Smart Ag Labs” will be built at select locations in the communities, which allows students to experience hands on learning. The ag labs allow students to study data analytics, higher productivity and precision agriculture with the latest agricultural technology. Newman University will also renovate a new satellite office in Garden City, which functions as a space for students to meet with administration to discuss their higher education path. 

Newman will bring a variety of bachelor’s degree opportunities to the Southwest Kansas community colleges. Nursing, teaching, business and agribusiness are currently available at the Garden City Community College, Dodge City Community College, and Seward County Community College campuses and are still enrolling for summer and fall 2024. 

These programs will greatly benefit the entire Southwest Kansas community, as higher education will focus on a curriculum that directly reflects local business needs. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in work-study experiences, enabling them to partner with industry leaders and earn experience unlike any other institution of higher education in the state. 

Agribusiness is one of the most unique paths offered, as new technology gives students direct experience with the current transformation of agriculture production into an industry grounded in the Internet of Things. Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree through the agribusiness program will be prepared to meet the growing production demands of the industry. Southwest Kansas will be home to industry leaders and world changers as the students of the new agribusiness program pave the way for the significant industry transition. 

Additional information on current degree programs offered, enrollment and scholarship opportunities is available at gcccnewman.com

About Newman:
Founded in 1933, Newman University is grounded in Catholic values and traditions, yet is respectful of all faith traditions. At Newman you’ll find people, programs, organizationsand activities designed to educate your mind and inspire your spirit. 

The main campus is in Wichita, Kansas with outreach sites in Southeast Kansas, Southwest Kansas, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Newman is a sponsored ministry of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ United States Region. 

About GCCC: 
Founded in 1919, Garden City Community College (GCCC) has served the public longer than any other community college in Kansas. GCCC is the senior leader in community college education for Kansas, with a tradition of preparing people of all ages from diverse backgrounds for success in their lives and careers. 

The mission of GCCC is to help each student become a positive contributor to the economic and social well-being of society. GCCC offers opportunities for every individual through our shared vision of becoming the premier educational nexus to progress and world-class learning in a dynamic environment. From here, you can go anywhere.