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College Access Initiative

College Access Initiative

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College Access Initiative

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  1. College Access Initiative Karen Lanning, NCHELP Linda Shiller, VSAC NASSGAP Conference October 23, 2006

  2. College Access Initiative • Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 • Each guaranty agency shall promote access to postsecondary education by: • Providing a comprehensive listing of postsecondary education opportunities, programs, publications in their designated state • Publicizing information for students and traditionally underrepresented populations on college planning, career preparation, and paying for college

  3. Background • Initiative was recommended by guaranty agencies • Formalizes foundational role of guaranty agencies in in promoting access to postsecondary education

  4. Guaranty Agencies Promote Access Guaranty agencies: • Reach out to millions of students and families to inform them about how to • Prepare for college • Plan for their career • Pay for their postsecondary education • Manage their finances

  5. Guaranty Agencies Promote Access • Provide an extensive range of services and programs that increase awareness of the importance of higher education, opportunities available and the financial support offered • Work with partners to identify schools and communities with low college-going rates and target specialized services and scholarships to improve those rates

  6. Guaranty Agencies Promote Access Last year, guaranty agencies: • Provided more than six million pieces of college awareness, financial aid and financial literacy materials • Participated in more than 8,400 financial aid workshops and events that reached more than 900,000 students and families and more than 7,800 school guidance counselors

  7. Guaranty Agencies Promote Access • 17 agencies actively participate in College Goal Sunday • 12 agencies operate or support college resource centers • 7 agencies involved in federal TRIO programs • 14 agencies directly involved in a state GEAR UP Program

  8. Examples of Access Programs “College Pathways Events” – free for all high school juniors and their parents • Held at two college campuses in the state • Provides extensive information and assistance on the college planning, application and financial aid process • 1,351 high school juniors and parents attended in 2005

  9. Examples of Access Programs Trailblazer Program • One high school junior is nominated by each public and non-public high school in the state • Attend a comprehensive three-day training workshop presented on a college campus by guaranty agency staff and other financial aid professionals • Learn about the college admissions process and financial aid • Each Trailblazer shares knowledge of financial aid procedures with peers throughout their senior year of high school

  10. Examples of Access Programs • Program for High Schools with large number of low-income students • School selects students with potential who may not have sufficient motivation or resources to pursue college • Students receive additional tutoring and grant incentives • Up to 100 students a year are eligible to earn $6,000 each in scholarships for their postsecondary education

  11. Examples of Access Programs Guaranty agencies partner with a range of organizations (TRIO, GEAR UP, College Goal Sunday, Schools, Community Organizations, Libraries, State Agencies, Churches, YMCAs) to • Leverage services • Reach more schools, students and families

  12. Examples of Access Programs • Example—Tax Assistance Program (TAP) is provided by a non-profit organization • Guaranty agency provides intensive training for 1600 TAP tax assistance volunteers • Volunteers can also assist with FAFSA completion questions • In 2005, TAP volunteers helped more than 1,100 individuals complete a FAFSA. • Average TAP client is a single mother with an annual income below $15,000

  13. College Access Initiative - Implementation • NCHELP—facilitating a work group of guaranty agency representatives • College Access Initiative Work Group • Chaired by Steven Brooks, Executive Director of the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority • Meeting regularly since February to develop implementation plans • Met with representatives from the Office of Postsecondary Education and Federal Student Aid to share ideas and receive feedback

  14. College Access Initiative - Mission • Link students and families, especially those from groups underrepresented in higher education, to information and resources that enhance access to higher education programs • So they can learn about • the college planning process, and • the help available to succeed • Promote the economic health and well-being of states’ residents and communities

  15. College Access Initiative – Promote Access • College Access Initiative Work Group • Sharing information and developing best practices • Working with an advisory committee of college access experts • Working with the access community to learn more about existing programs and to increase awareness about guaranty agency materials and programs • Developing resources and forums to help agencies expand their outreach activities to reach a broader number of students, families and organizations

  16. College Access Initiative – Comprehensive Listing • College Access Initiative Work Group(continued) • Create a central location for students, families and educators to visit • Worked with Mapping Your Future to develop a portal • • each agency has developed the state-based section for their designated states

  17. Features • Each State section includes: • College resources centers in the state • College information and financial aid awareness events • Assistance provided to low-income, and first-generation college students through programs including Upward Bound, Talent Search, GEAR UP and Project Grad

  18. Features Next Steps • NCHELP and the work group are promoting the site in conjunction with Federal Student Aid, schools, education associations, state organizations, national/local media and access program providers • Help us get the word out