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College access program awards $607,000 to Oregon schools, colleges & nonprofits

Contact: Di Saunders, OUS – Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869

Source: Stephanie Carnahan, CACGP Program Director – Office: 541-346-5761; Cell: 541-359-6755

Federal College Access Challenge Grant also funds expansion of 50 new ASPIRE programs statewide

Portland, OR, October 11, 2010 – The State of Oregon announced today that it has awarded $607,000 in grants to 12 organizations in Oregon to increase the number of K-12 students who are prepared for and who can succeed in higher education. Funded through a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education received in August, the College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) is also funding the expansion of ASPIRE (Access to Student assistance Programs In Reach of Everyone), Oregon’s official mentoring program to help students access education and training beyond high school.

The grants are focused on supporting or creating a college-going culture in schools and organizations by providing students and families with the tools and knowledge necessary to successfully transition from secondary education to college. Goals of the program include significantly and quickly increasing the number of students entering postsecondary education; improving their academic preparation for college, and thus increasing their ability to persist and complete a degree; and increasing the capacity of Oregon public K-12, public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations to support students’ success.

Programs awarded include:

  1. Chemeketa Community College awarded $61,534 for their Success Early College High School, a partnership with Woodburn School District to develop an alternative school that provides at-risk students with academic skill development and other college preparation to provide a seamless transition from high school to college.
  2. Grants Pass Family YMCA/College Dreams awarded $56,250 for their Early Direct College Access & Preparation Program to develop a college-going culture and motivate academic excellence for students with multiple drop-out risk factors in the Grants Pass School District.
  3. Hermiston High School awarded $51,500 for their Laying the Foundation for Post-Secondary Success program, which will work with Eastern Oregon University as a partner to create a college-going and college-staying culture through college visits and parental involvement among other program components.
  4. Impact Northwest and Marshall High School awarded $32,000 for their Post-Secondary Options program to provide college academic and other preparation to students, and to involve parents in navigating the college application and financial aid process.
  5. Incight Company awarded $45,615 for their S.T.A.R.T. Post-Secondary Success program in partnership with Western Oregon University and Youth Transition Program, to increase access to and success in college for students with disabilities from 5 school districts in the Portland area.
  6. Lane Community College awarded $38,003 for their College Transition Support Program to help improve the chance of success for rural students in accessing and succeeding in college through partnering with Kennedy Alternative High School and Cottage Grove High School in the South Lane School District.
  7. McMinnville School District #40 awarded $48,583 for their Bridge to College Project to increase college enrollment and completion through academic preparation, mentoring and other components, in partnership with Chemeketa, Portland, and Linn Benton Community Colleges and other partners.
  8. Native American Youth and Family Center awarded $56,250 for their Ladder to Success program in partnership with Portland State University, Portland Community College, University of Oregon and Mt. Hood Community College, to train staff to enhance their ability to serve youth in meeting postsecondary education access goals and increase community involvement.
  9. Oregon Health Career Center awarded $55,901 for their Health Careers College Success Program expansion, with new partners including David Douglas and Franklin High Schools, to provide school-year and summer programs that provide pre-college academic and other enrichment to ensure students are ready for college.
  10. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) awarded $54,142 for its Salmon Camp: Inspiring Native American youth to pursue secondary education in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), to increase the number of students served in this hands-on scientific field research camp.
  11. Outside In awarded $56,083 for its College Quarters program in partnership with PCC and Lewis and Clark College to prepare homeless youth to complete high school, enroll in college, and successfully transition from a street culture to a campus and academic world and prepare for long term goals and a life forever off the streets.
  12. Sweet Home School District awarded $51,506 for its Making Dreams Happen program to increase college preparedness, awareness and access for Sweet Home High School underrepresented students and their families, and increase the number who go on to college.

Stephanie Carnahan, director of college access programs for the Oregon University System, said, “There is a great need in Oregon for pre-college programs that help students and families understand how to access college in a comprehensive way, from academic preparation to understanding how financial aid works. This CACGP funding is focused on increasing the capacity of programs to serve more students than they can currently, with proven strategies that engage them in school and help them move on to college or careers after high school. Unfortunately the state need is much greater than the resources available; while we had $600,000 available to grant we received over $3 million in requests from over 60 programs across the state.”

Another component of Oregon’s CACGP is expanding the number of ASPIRE programs by creating 50 new sites across the state in the next year. Created by the Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC), ASPIRE began with four pilot schools in 1998 as a program to encourage students who do not typically think of themselves as college bound. Today, ASPIRE is in 115 middle and high schools across Oregon, engages 1,516 volunteers, and reaches more than 11,000 students from all walks of life. CACGP funding will expand ASPIRE from 115 sites in the state to 165 sites, increasing all students reached by 30-40% by year 2 of the program implementation. ASPIRE will involve Educational Service Districts in order that more small schools can participate through sharing of a site coordinator, and to target current areas with fewer ASPIRE sites, such as Eastern Oregon.

Finally, CACGP funds will be used to increase the availability of a program designed by the Northwest Education Loan Association to increase college awareness among even younger students. “I’m Going to College” is an early awareness program for elementary age students that provides a college and career curriculum and culminates with a visit at a college campus. An additional 3,500 students in Oregon will have the opportunity to participate in this program.

The College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) is a formula grant program that is designed to foster partnerships among Federal, State and local government entities and philanthropic organizations to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education. CACGP provides two-year grants to States to meet the needs of underrepresented students and families. In Oregon, all education sectors and the Governor’s Office are involved in the CACGP, and the Oregon University System is the fiscal agent for the grant.

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services, and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.

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