The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees approved an agreement with grant-writing firm Ramona Munsell and Associates at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.


The firm was contracted to help write and apply for a five-year, $5 million Title III Hispanic Serving Institution grant that is geared to STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.


Any institution whose Hispanic enrollment is at least 25% is eligible for the grant.


GCCC president Ryan Ruda said applying and writing for federal grants is intricate and particular, so it’s important to have someone who can "navigate the waters" in the grant-writing and application process for federal grants.


"So this particular firm is very well vested in helping those that they write the grants for, to stay on for the entirety of the grant cycle, help with the annual reporting, closing out the grants and meeting all federal guidelines on that end as well, which is very important when it comes to the specifics that had come with the federal grant," he said.


There is an upfront fee of $2,500 in contracting Ramona Munsell and Associates.


If the grant is obtained, the firm’s services will include:


• Management of appropriate program and fiscal controls.


• Technical assistance with program implementation.


• Assistance with revision requests and annual performance reports during the term of the grant.


Also in the agreement, if a grant is not obtained, GCCC will continue working with the firm for at least three more funding cycles.


Trustee Beth Tedrow said the fee is minimal for the help the business gives in procuring a grant.


"When you compare it to the fact that if we would not get one, or we can't get one renewed, which happened in one of our trio programs because it was not written well, this sounds expensive, but it's very inexpensive when you realize what you lose," she said. "Once you lose them, it's very, very difficult to get them back, and you're on national competition here. I have no problem with it at all."