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Foundation Expands College Access To Low-Income Students Across Virginia With Almost $1 Million In Grants
University of Virginia receives $623,000 to train new college graduates to become college guides in communities throughout Commonwealth

December 9, 2004 --

While 79% of Virginians age 18-24 have a high school diploma, only 53% attend college directly out of high school.  Determined to help more Virginia students attend college or other postsecondary training, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today at a press conference at the University of Virginia that it is awarding $966,613 in grants to build college access programs across the Commonwealth. 

Through these nonprofit programs, high school students will be able to learn how to apply to college, take standardized tests, obtain financial aid, and complete other steps that often stop academically qualified students from continuing their education after high school.  The grants include $623,000 to UVA to initiate a pilot program in 2005 that will prepare new college graduates to move into at least nine Virginia communities as college guides.

"These grants will give more of Virginia's students, particularly highly capable students with financial need, the chance to fulfill their dreams of going to college," said Matthew J. Quinn, the Foundation's executive director.  "We also believe that UVA can establish a national model that shows how institutions of higher education and local communities can work together to help more qualified students earn postsecondary degrees."

In monetary terms alone, the benefits of postsecondary education can be considerable both for the student and, through increases in taxable income, the public.  A college graduate typically earns $1 million more over a lifetime than someone who never advances beyond high school.  Most high schools, however, are unable to provide all the services many students need to make the transition to college.  In Virginia, on average, there is only one high school guidance counselor per 369 students (National Association of College Admissions Counselors 2001-02).

After reviewing proposals from across Virginia, the Foundation is awarding $90,000 each to organizations in Fairfax, Rappahannock, and Warren Counties to start college access programs and approximately $25,000 each to expand college access programs now operating in the Tidewater region, Patrick County, and City of Alexandria (details below).

The Foundation's grant to the University of Virginia initiates a two-year pilot College Guide program designed to increase postsecondary attendance in the Commonwealth and beyond - not just at UVA.  In 2005, UVA will recruit and select 20 of its graduating seniors for the program and conduct a six-week summer training session.  UVA will then

  • place the guides at college access programs in the Tidewater region, Patrick County, and Alexandria,
  • provide guides to new programs starting in Fairfax, Rappahannock, and Warren Counties, and
  • work with existing education nonprofits to place guides in Charlottesville/Albemarle County, Richmond, Halifax County, and other locations. 

"The College Guide program, combined with our new financial aid program, AccessUVA, will ensure that qualified students around the state have the opportunity to obtain a college degree, and understand how to reach that goal," said U.Va.  President John T. Casteen III.

UVA will also provide training and networking opportunities for local college access programs and include them in a comprehensive evaluation of program effectiveness.  After demonstrating College Guide's success, UVA may expand the program to additional communities.

Tina Milano, Executive Director of the National College Access Network (NCAN), said that she was delighted to see UVA pioneer this model for providing college access services to students.  "NCAN will be following the progress of this project with enormous interest and extends congratulations to both UVA and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for their leadership and commitment to helping make higher education an option for all of Virginia's young people" she said.  The staff of the Foundation and NCAN have worked closely together to determine how best to increase access to college for Virginia's underserved population. 

Building on its work in Virginia, the Foundation has begun soliciting proposals to initiate college access programs in Maryland and will make grants in 2005.

ABOUT
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education.  Besides this grant initiative, the Foundation's programs include full scholarships for students transferring from community college to complete a four-year degree, scholarship for graduate and professional students, and scholarships to help high-achieving youth develop their talents and abilities throughout high school.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Virginia College Access Network Grant Initiative
December 9, 2004

Total Grants Awarded in Virginia: $966,613

Statewide College Access Program Grant:

University of Virginia
$623,000 grant to support the launch of the UVA College Guide Program.
Nicole Farmer Hurd, Associate Dean
Phone: 434-924-6058

Local College Access Program Start-up Grants:

Fairfax Scholarship Fund
$90,000 grant to support the start up of a college access program in seven high schools in Fairfax County.
Christian N. Braunlich, Executive Director
Phone: 703-922-6768

Rappahannock County Education Foundation (Headwaters)
$90,000 grant to support the start up of a college access program in Rappahannock County.
Paige Coombs, Executive Director
Phone:  540-675-1819

Warren County Coalition
$90,000 grant to support the start up of a college access program in Warren County.
Jeffrey A. Rodman, Executive Director
Phone: 540-636-6385

Grants for Existing College Access Programs in Virginia:

Patrick County Education Foundation
$23,613 grant to fund an enhanced SAT preparation program.
Gerald L. Hughes, Jr., Executive Director
Phone: 276-694-7137

The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria
$25,000 grant to conduct a summative external evaluation of the program's performance.
Susan D. Yowell, Executive Director
Phone: 703-824-6730

Tidewater Scholarship Foundation
$25,000 grant to expand services to 26 schools.
Bonnie B. Sutton, President and CEO
Phone: 757-628-3426

Media Contacts: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: Pete Mackey (703) 723-8000, ext. 215; Cell: (443) 995.3495, pmackey@jackkentcookefoundation.org; UVA: Kathleen Valenzi, (434) 924-6857; (TV) Sheri Winston, (434) 924-6182

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-Nov-2005 10:39:58 EST
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