Grant to Expand Carolina College Advising Corps

A UNC program that helps North Carolina high school seniors realize the goal of attending college is expanding with help from a national foundation based in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has created a matching-grant program that will provide up to $210,000 to support new and existing partner high schools in the Carolina College Advising Corps.

“We are grateful to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for supporting the Carolina College Advising Corps and the students, schools and communities we serve,” said Stephen Farmer, UNC’s associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions. “This grant will help deserving young men and women take the next step in their educational journey – a step that many of them might not otherwise take. The long-term benefits – for these students, their families and for all of North Carolina – will be enormous.”

The Carolina College Advising Corps, or CCAC, is two years old and helps low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students in North Carolina attend college. It is a constituent program of the National College Advising Corps, which is headquartered at UNC. The CCAC places recent Carolina alumni – many of them first-generation college students themselves – as college advisers in low-income high schools across the state.

“This program goes to the heart of what the Jessie Ball duPont Fund is trying to achieve with regard to increasing the college-going rates of minority, low-wealth and first-generation students by providing them with highly trained recent college graduates who will work in under-resourced schools and serve as college counselors, peer mentors and personal inspirations for students who do not believe that college is in their future,” said Sharon E. Greene, senior program officer at the duPont Fund. “While the program is new, the Carolina Corps is looked to as a model for future sustainability of similar programs across the country, and our grant is intended to provide matching funds to encourage local support of the program.”

CCAC advisers work to increase college-going rates by providing admissions and financial-aid advising to students and their families through group and one-on-one sessions that help students identify good-fitting colleges, complete their admissions and financial-aid applications and enroll at the schools they choose.

The program aims to accomplish three things:

<b> Increase the college-going rate at each partner school;

Expand the range of colleges and universities to which students apply and in which they enroll; and

Help principals, counselors and teachers foster a college-going culture.

Currently, the CCAC places 17 advisers in 36 high schools. The advisers spend two to three days per week in each of their two schools, tailoring their efforts to meet the individual needs and culture of each school and its students. These efforts complement, rather than compete with, the work of high-school guidance counselors.

If fully funded, over the next three years the matching-grant program created by the duPont Fund could support up to 24 high schools that otherwise would lack the resources to provide full funding for one or more advisers.

The matching fund program already has paid off in Davidson and Rockingham counties.

In Davidson County, DavidsonWorks – a county work force development group – will provide $36,250 over two years to help fund an adviser at Lexington and Thomasville high schools starting in 2009-10.

The Annie Penn Community Trust and the Rockingham County Education Foundation also will match funds from the duPont Fund to support two advisers who will work in Rockingham County’s four high schools: McMichael, Morehead, Reidsville and Rockingham County. The trust, based in Reidsville, makes grants supporting programs and initiatives aimed at improving the health, wellness and quality of life of Rockingham County citizens. The Education Foundation’s emphasis is to increase the number of students who graduate from high school and continue their education through college programs or through work force training.

“Having a college adviser has been a wonderful addition to Morehead High School this year,” said Betty Harrington, principal of Morehead High School in Eden. “Kelli Hammond [’08], our adviser, has worked hard from day one to create opportunities for our students to pursue their dreams of going to college. We are very grateful to have the program for an additional two years and would welcome it in our school on a permanent basis.”

Preliminary data from CCAC’s first year show that, with four advisers serving eight high schools, a total of 1,841 individual advising sessions were held with 930 students, 67 group sessions were held and 197 forms accompanying federal financial-aid applications were submitted.

Related coverage is available online:

  • Young Alumni at Heart of Program to Help Low-Income Students
    $10 million national college advising program to be based at UNC
    News report from March 2007
  • Worth the Wait: Not every Carolina student got the “you’re in” as a high school senior. Many transfers didn’t even seek it. A new collaboration with community colleges aims to find more of those who want, or need, more time.
    From the March/April 2007 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review, available online to GAA members.

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