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FARMINGTON — The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of almost $2.5 million to Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint.

The grant, which will be awarded over a five-year funding cycle, will support a project to increase access to courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The university will collaborate with high schools to offer a pre-engineering online course that will allow students to earn high school and college credit, according to a university press release.

New Mexico high schools will participate in the courses first since the university already offers dual-credit programs in several of the state's schools.

In addition, the classes will allow adults to start the process of earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Part of the grant will be used to hire additional personnel and purchase equipment for the participating high schools and additional e-Learning support.

Peter Romine, an associate professor of electrical engineering at the university, said in the release that the program would attract all types of students.

“Those straight from high school, those who have gone in the trades and worked and those looking for a new career — we need to inspire people to become designers, engineers and inventors,” Romine said.

According to the foundation’s website, the grant started on Oct. 1 and ends in September 2020.

It was provided under the Human Resource Development’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program.

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