Syracuse University

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SU awarded grant to provide at-risk students access to college

March 12, 2009

Susan Feightner
(315) 443-1525

Susan Feightner

Syracuse University's Office of Supportive Services, located in SU's School of Education, was recently awarded a federal College Access Challenge Grant from New York State Higher Education Services Corp. for $49,479 over two years for its Central New York College Access Project. The project will target prospective college applicants from low-income families in rural and urban districts and provide information, activities and services to parents and guidance counselors in hopes of increasing the number of at-risk students who will learn about, apply for and be accepted to colleges. The award was part of $8.2 million in two-year grants given to 30 programs throughout the state.

"We hope to use our experience and expertise gathered over 30 years of supporting 'at risk' students to provide depth and intensity to some of the current New York state initiatives such as the Liberty Partnership Program, the Science, Technology and Engineering (STEP) Program and Say Yes to Education, and to bring our breadth of knowledge about parent education and college support programs to both rural and urban school districts," says Robert C. Wilson, director of student support services at SU.

The project will work in collaboration with BOCES of Jefferson and Lewis counties and the Syracuse City School District toward a goal of increasing by 10-15 percent the number of juniors in the participating districts who engage in the college application process. Two one-day conferences will be offered for parents, guidance counselors and administrators, followed by meetings and workshops in the school districts. At the conferences, faculty and staff from the University, managers of current college access programs and school administrators will provide information relevant to the college access process and facilitate the development of district-specific action plans.

"We are committed to increasing the number of first-generation students from low- income families who attend and succeed in college so that in the future more than the current 10.2 percent of such students obtain a four year degree," says Wilson. "We hope to use the College Access Network to disseminate these best practices for the benefit of all New York state schools. We believe the information provided, the knowledge gained and the links formed through this project can support a systemic and sustained bridge to college access."

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