Contact: Kirsten Nelson
March 19, 2010
RICHMOND — A wealth of community-based groups are at work in the Commonwealth, helping students through the often complicated process of applying to and paying for college. Identifying and coordinating the efforts of these access groups so they can better serve Virginia’s students is the goal of a recent study overseen by Dr. Monica Osei, Assistant Director of Academic Affairs and Student Programs at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).
“A Statewide Examination of College Access Services and Resources in Virginia” examines the patchwork of organizations across the Commonwealth that help students overcome various academic, financial, and personal obstacles that can prevent them from pursuing education beyond high school. The study is the first of its kind to be conducted in Virginia, and was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Access Challenge Grant Program. SCHEV will distribute the full study to education leaders, access providers, and state legislators.
The study presents detailed information about the types and locations of access resources currently available to Virginians who seek assistance in planning for and applying to colleges, universities, and vocational training programs. The study also compares these resources to the access and academic needs of the Commonwealth, and offers recommendations to improve access services throughout Virginia.
“This study helps us better understand the critical role that community organizations play in helping students and their families plan for and succeed in postsecondary education,” said Daniel J. LaVista, SCHEV’s Executive Director. “These findings will guide the Council and other Commonwealth leaders committed to promoting college access for all Virginia students, and specifically for under-represented populations.”
In November 2008, SCHEV partnered with researchers at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Tech to collect data from community-based access providers. During the course of their work, researchers identified more than 450 access providers delivering services throughout the Commonwealth. Dr. Nathan Alleman, a key member of the research team and co-author of the study, believes that one of the study’s greatest successes was integrating provider and school district data to help constituents identify areas of high need across Virginia.
The full study is available on the SCHEV website at www.schev.edu/ReportStats/AccessReport.pdf. SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency administers the federal College Access Challenge Grant, which is designed by the U.S. Department of Education to promote access to college and increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education. For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Government Relations and Communications at KirstenNelson@schev.edu or (804) 225-2627.
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