Clinton Junior College will receive nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand its science program and launch a research project seeking ways to clean up water pollution.
The money will be doled out over three years, allowing the school to build a new science lab, update equipment, hire staff and develop new courses.
"It will allow us to offer better quality science programs for our students," Clinton President Elaine Copeland said. "We will be stronger. Our students will have more opportunities in science. We'll get more students from Clinton that want to go into science."
Clinton, a 21-acre campus off Crawford Road in Rock Hill with 140 students, is one of nine historically black colleges and universities across the state and Georgia to win a grant in a federal push to drive college students to focus on science.
During an awards ceremony in Columbia on Thursday, Copeland said, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., told the group that efforts like this will help train a future workforce skilled in critical areas of science.
Clinton plans to use its $1,970,180 to build on its young science program.
The school, which had science courses before, began offering an associate degree in the field two years ago; the first student to enroll in that program is expected to graduate this year.
Expanding that, Copeland said, will give more students a chance to transfer to four-year universities.
The college's proposed research project involves studying polymers and developing water-treatment systems. Students would work as research assistants.
Part of the grant money will go to create scholarships for 10 students, covering tuition and living expenses. The school also plans to add analytical and organic chemistry courses. It will hire educators to teach those courses as well as physics.