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New Program Launched to Improve College Access to Underrepresented Groups

Winter 2008 | Archives

MCC is improving college access and increasing completion rates for underrepresented students with the Access to a College Education (A.C.E.) pilot program. A.C.E. will provide information, technical assistance and college visits to low-income, first generation and English language learning prospective students.

students MCC is ideally suited to offer the A.C.E. outreach program because the College already offers broad access through an open admissions policy and provides quality, affordable education to students from all walks of life. Long-term impacts of the project will derive from its ability to be replicated on a broader scale by College outreach offices to assist students and parents in navigating the process of applying for and beginning college. A.C.E. program participants will meet on scheduled Saturdays when school is in session and have field trips on days when school is not in session. The program will also arrange regional college visits, where prospective college students will be able to experience college life by talking to staff in college and university admissions, academic affairs, student life and leadership offices.

"Outreach to underrepresented groups is crucial to all higher education, not just community colleges, and it shows a real commitment to the importance and value of education," said Cynthia Gooch, associate vice president for equity and diversity. Gooch is providing administrative oversight of the A.C.E. program.

Upon completion of A.C.E., at least 80 percent of participating students and parents will indicate increased knowledge of college readiness topics, and those students will have taken a college entrance exam. At least 50 percent of participants will have applied to or enrolled in college, and at least 75 percent of participants will have completed financial aid or scholarship applications/forms.

The pilot program is due in part to $38,000 in funds awarded by the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education; MCC was the only community college to receive College Access Challenge Grant fundng.

Students eligible for A.C.E. must be from a low-income family, a first generation college-bound student, a high school senior with at least a 2.5 GPA and a high school graduation date of May or summer 2009. Parent or guardian participation is also a crucial and necessary requirement.

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