CWU News

CWU Receives $5 Million U.S. Education Grant

Central Washington University will receive nearly $5.4 million, over the next five years from the United States Education Department for the university’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and High School Equivalency Program (HEP).

This is the fourth consecutive time CWU has received five-year funding for the programs, which were launched by CWU in 2001. 

The money, awarded on a competitive basis by the federal Office of Migrant Education, will help 170 students and participants annually both through CAMP, on the Ellensburg campus, and HEP, which is based in Yakima.

“We’re extremely outreached based,” said Miriam Bocchetti, the director of CAMP, which received more than $2.1 million—$424,999 each through 2021—to help students from migrant and seasonal farm-working backgrounds successfully begin their college careers. CAMP provides services to freshman, ranging from college and career planning to cultural enrichment and financial assistance.

“Academic monitoring, mentoring, tutoring, are all a part of CAMP,” Bocchetti added. “We also host weekly—staff-supervised—study tables. And we offer our students career exploration opportunities. All this helps them integrate into the university culture and impacts their decisions on whether they will stay on for their sophomore years.”

Education, business, law and justice, psychology, and social sciences are among the most popular majors among CAMP students, according to Bocchetti, who added, “We offer them a comfortable and stable environment, which provides them with opportunities to thrive.”   

In addition to the CAMP grant, CWU received a $2.4 million federal appropriation for HEP—just less than $475,000 annually through 2021. Bocchetti also oversees that program. 

“We’ve had HEP participants up to 60 years old,” she pointed out. “Others dropped out [of school] when they were in elementary school and now have come to the point where they need and want to get their [high school] diplomas and move ahead in their lives. We’re happy that Central will be able to continue to provide a program that can help them do that.”

A bit different in scope, HEP aids migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their immediate family members earn the equivalent of high school diplomas. Through, typically, three-to-six months of study, participants prepare to go to college, begin careers, or enter military service.

“Almost every single one of our HEP participants works all day and then come in for instruction from six to 10 p.m.,” Bocchetti acknowledges. “Some of them are out in the fields at five in the morning, or earlier. They work 12 hours and then come into the classroom and they do that until they are done. One year, we had a father and a son finish the program at the same time.”

CWU is one of just 49 schools nationwide offering CAMP and among only 52 that sponsor HEP. In Washington, there are seven CAMP and four HEP providers.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,

August 16, 2016

Photo: (l. to. r) Bocchetti with CAMP staff members Juan Maravilla, outreach specialist; Mayra Nambo, retention counselor; and Veronica Zamora Dimas, program coordinator.