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Tufts To Spearhead Statewide College Advising Program

Tufts To Spearhead Statewide College Advising ProgramThe Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently awarded Tufts University and the Massachusetts Campus Compact a $1 million grant to launch a program aimed at increasing college enrollment among low-income high school and community college students.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.26.07] As part of a national initiative to help high-achieving, low-income students enter college, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently awarded Tufts University and the Massachusetts Campus Compact (MACC) $1 million to create a college advising program in the state. The grant will enable recent Tufts graduates to work full-time in select Massachusetts high schools to assist students in considering and planning for college. The guides will also help students navigate the college and financial aid application process.

“Education should not be a luxury for the privileged few,” said Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow.

The Tufts program is an expansion of College Guide, an initiative that began at the University of Virginia a year and a half ago with a grant from the Cooke Foundation, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Based on the numbers in Virginia, sending recent college graduates into high schools to encourage students to continue their education seems to be working.

Inside Higher Ed reported that the 14 high schools that participated in the College Guide program in Virginia had college-going rates of 30-45 percent before the “guides” arrived. After a full year of the program, those rates increased by 15-20 percent, according to the publication.

“This innovative approach has succeeded in Virginia with notable increases in applications to college in the high schools where the guides work,” Joshua S. Wyner, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s vice president of programs, said in a statement. The program’s positive impact in Virginia led the foundation to recently award $10 million in grants to 10 other colleges and universities around the country for the creation of guide programs of their own. Collectively, these efforts will be known as the College Advising Corps, bearing a resemblance to programs like Teach for America and AmeriCorps*VISTA.

“We are very excited to have Tufts be a part of this national program to increase college-going rates,” Nancy Wilson, director and associate dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts, told E-News. The Tisch College will oversee the program along with MACC—a nonprofit coalition of colleges and universities that is focused on civic engagement and is hosted at Tufts.

According to MACC Executive Director Barbara Canyes, the coalition has a demonstrated track record of successful partnerships with Tisch College and of recruiting for Americorps*VISTA..

“The College Advising Corps takes advantage of this history of collaboration and leverages the strengths and resources of each organization to provide a model program that will serve as a replicable framework for other states and universities,” she told E-News.

Wilson added that Tisch College will facilitate recruitment of Tufts seniors to become guides whose primary role in area high schools will be to “specifically seek out students who have academic promise, but little inclination to consider going to college.” She explained that during the first year of the program, five recent Tufts graduates will be deployed to high schools, which have not yet been identified, throughout the state. In the second year of the four-year grant, 10 Tufts seniors will be recruited for the College Advising Corps; in the third and fourth years, the program will grow to 15 guides.

“The advisers will educate their clients about admissions and financial aid, supplementing the work traditionally done by guidance counselors,” Boston Business Journal reported.

Over the life of the grant, Tufts and MACC expect to provide one-on-one advising to 2,250 students and serve an additional 6,010 in group settings.

“This program will change the lives of thousands of Massachusetts students who currently lack the information and support they need to succeed,” said Bacow.

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