College Access Challenge Grant Program fy 2008 Project Abstracts

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College Access Challenge Grant Program -- FY 2008 Project Abstracts

PR Award # : P378A080001
Grantee : University of the Virgin Islands
Director : Miriam V. Osborne Elliott
Telephone : 340-692-4188
E-mail :
Year 1 Award : $330,000.00

Project Description:

As the only accredited American historically black college or university (HBCU) in the Caribbean serving a significantly diverse cultural, socioeconomic and linguistic population, University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is poised to significantly increase the number of unrepresented students who have access to enter and persist in postsecondary education.

In collaboration, the Office of the Governor, the Virgin Islands Board of Education, and UVI will strengthen capacity in the United States Virgin Islands by working with middle and secondary school educators, the local American Counseling Association Chapter, and the mass media to enhance the territory’s families awareness about the benefits of attaining a college education and methods of accessing and financing higher education in general. Through directed marketing approaches, community workshops and seminars on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and supporting the professional development of counselors and key higher educational staff directly linked to the outlined goals and objectives of the grant, the UVI will be effective in reaching intended populations. Grant funding will be allocated to the Virgin Islands Board of Education to provide enhanced scholarship opportunities for underprivileged recent high school graduates. Through its marketing efforts, UVI will encourage students and families to apply for these and other scholarships, which support their higher education goals in keeping with the guidelines of this funding project.

The activities of this project will be conducted within the parameters of the stated objectives of the grant and in keeping with Title VII of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. section 1141, and the vision of UVI, which is to be an exceptional United States. institution of higher education in the Caribbean, dedicated to student success, committed to excellence, and pledged to enhance the social and economic transformation of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

PR Award # : P378A080002

Grantee : Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

Director : Carna Pfeil

Telephone : 402-471-0029

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $330,000.00

Project Description:
The major goal of the programs funded by Nebraska’s College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) award is to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education. Nebraska has divided its funding into six parts with the Coordinating Commission operating one program and the remaining funds allocated as mini-grants to five public and private entities.
The Coordinating Commission’s project is to increase the funding for a program that provides scholarships to low-income high school students to assist them in paying for college courses while still in high school. The goal is to fund 325 to 350 low-income high school students. The five other programs or projects address most of the activities and services identified in the CACG grants.
Making the Connections is a public/private partnership that proposes to assist students identifying career paths, develop learning plans, make connections to postsecondary institutions, expose students to financial aid information and counseling, and connect with Nebraska employers.
Learning for Life/Exploring Tomorrow is a partnership with the Cornhusker Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The main goal of the project is to increase leadership skills of low-income youth; increase awareness of postsecondary education financing opportunities available to all scouts, particularly targeting low-income families; and encourage students to complete high school. It also provides positive adult role models for disadvantaged youth.
The Pipeline to College project is a public/private partnership that will inform students and parents about what it takes to attend college and potential scholarship financial aid available. The main goal of the project is to encourage disadvantaged youth to consider careers in the health professions.
Expanding Chadron State College’s Educational Family project targets low-income, disadvantaged fifth and sixth grade students for in-depth encounters and interactions that will lead to a more productive and positive transition to middle and high school.
Access to a College Education proposes to improve college access and completion, targeting underrepresented middle school students, especially low-income and first-generation. The main goal of the project is to increase awareness among parents regarding preparing children for college.

PR Award # : P378A080003

Grantee : Pennsylvania Department of Education

Director : Kathleen M. Shaw

Telephone : 717-783-9259

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $2,105,061.00
Project Description:
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) proposes to partner with Project GRAD USA (GRAD USA) and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to deliver coordinated, intensive services to 16,629 students in seven low-income and below-proficient high schools and their feeder middle schools while also providing financial aid information to the entire state in a coordinated fashion under the College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) Program.
As the goal of Pennsylvania’s CACG is to increase significantly the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education, GRAD USA will provide targeted, intensive intervention services from its College Readiness Initiative (CRI), leveraging the significant college access resources provided by PHEAA state-wide. The choice of these services, including college access programming and academic personalization strategies, is based on the immediate needs of the targeted high schools. In addition, to address the critical transition from middle to high school, GRAD USA will provide targeted college access programming to the feeder middle schools.
The Pennsylvania Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education will ensure CACG implementation, effective program delivery, and quality control and will support buy-in with the targeted districts and the statewide effort.
PHEAA will provide financial aid informational services throughout the State but will also focus resources on the seven-targeted high schools. PHEAA’s services at the targeted schools will be coordinated with the GRAD USA CRI framework and will include delivery of financial aid workshops, training, and materials.

PR Award # : P378A080004

Grantee :  Ohio Board of Regents         
Director :  Chad Foust, Director, State Grants and Scholarships 
Telephone :  614-752-9475
E-mail :
Year 1 Award :  $2,268,044.00

Project Description:

In 2007, our Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) was elevated to a cabinet level post appointed by the Governor. Within a year of his appointment, Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut presented a 10-year strategic plan to build a world-class system of higher education in Ohio. The plan includes clear goals, measurements and strategies to implement innovative policies and track progress. OBR plans to use the funds of the College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) Program to support the objectives already identified in the Chancellor’s strategic plan (
Specifically, OBR will focus CACG funds on the elements of the Chancellor’s strategic plan dealing with increasing access to higher education. OBR plans to use CACG funds to supplement the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), the state’s largest need-based grant program. OCOG was implemented during the 2006-07 academic year gradually replacing the existing need-based grant program, the Ohio Instructional Grant (OIG). OCOG was designed to reach more students by applying the federal methodology of need (EFC-based instead of income and household size based) and by offering funding to both part-time and full-time students.
The Chancellor’s strategic plan seeks to increase enrollment in Ohio’s public colleges and universities by nearly 50 percent by the year 2017. The Ohio College Opportunity Grant will continue to serve as a vital resource to attract and encourage more Ohioans to enroll in an institution and a program best suited for their future aspirations. In this time of economic and budget uncertainty, supplementing our OCOG program with CACG funds is of paramount importance to ensuring appropriate levels of funding to meet the future needs of all eligible students.

PR Award # : P378A080005

Grantee : North Dakota University System

Director :  Dr. Marsha V. Krotseng

Telephone :  701-328-2979
E-mail :
Year 1 Award : $330,000.00
Project Description:
The public and private sector leaders who participated in North Dakota’s Roundtable on Higher Education envisioned a university system that is “accessible and responsive to all citizens of the state,” a goal which is embedded in the system’s strategic plan. Through the College Access Challenge Grant, partners representing K-12 education; the state’s public, private, and tribal colleges and universities; the Bank of North Dakota/Student Loans of North Dakota; state agencies; and professional associations will implement a statewide network committed to increasing college access for low-income and underrepresented populations, both traditional-age students and adults.
The goal is to strengthen and formalize a partnership among key stakeholders, building a network of support for individuals who, otherwise, may believe a college education to be unattainable. Activities will include reaching out to students and their families though regional and statewide forums designed to raise awareness of college possibilities and financial aid opportunities toward the ultimate objective of increasing the number of low-income and underrepresented students who enter and are retained in postsecondary education. In addition, an annual conference will offer professional development opportunities for education professionals.

PR Award # : P378A080006

Grantee : New Jersey Commission on Higher Education
Director : Betsy Garlatti
Telephone : 609-292-3235
E-mail :
Year 1 Award : $1,097,047.00

Project Description:

The purpose of the Tools for College Access program (New Jersey’s implementation of the College Access Challenge Grant) will be to increase students’ and parents’ awareness about college financing and preparation options. Tools for College Access (TCA) will act as a catalyst for coordinating the many existing state, university, and federal programs that deliver similar services.
Through subgrants with institutions of higher education, the TCA program will be implemented through Financial Aid Awareness/FAFSA Completion Days. These events will make financial aid administrators and counselors available so students and parents can receive information about going to college; sources of and how to apply for financial aid; and applying for a FAFSA PIN and completing the FAFSA online.
Juniors and seniors in New Jersey are offered opportunities to take college courses for credit while still in high school. Tools for College Access will establish baseline data on the numbers of students participating in such dual enrollment opportunities and their locations, then work to expand such opportunities statewide, setting annual goals.
According to the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), New Jersey has over one million adults who have completed some college but do not have a degree. The Commission on Higher Education (CHE) will narrow this population to those under 30 years of age who left college in good standing during the last 10 years. Subcontracted institutions will identify and contact such students and make counseling and financial aid advising available to them. Through our partnership with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD), we will also outreach to adults through the established One-Stop Career Centers to encourage them to enroll in a certificate or degree program.

PR Award # : P378A080007

Grantee :  Wisconsin Department of Administration           
Director :  Harald (Jordy) Jordahl   
Telephone :  608-261-7520
E-mail   :
Year 1 Award : $911,111.00

Project Description:

The purpose of the state of Wisconsin’s College Access Challenge Grant project is to motivate Wisconsin high school students to attend college and to help them prepare for college both academically and financially. To accomplish this goal, a team of college access outreach staff will provide college planning and preparation materials and services to students and families throughout the state of Wisconsin, as well as training to guidance counselors and other college access mentors regarding state, federal and local resources available to help students plan, prepare and pay for college.
In addition to providing materials to all high schools in the state of Wisconsin, the team of college access outreach staff will provide on-site services to counselors and students at participating Wisconsin high schools included on the U.S. Department of Education’s 2007-2008 Teacher Cancellation Low-Income Directory. The schools most in need of this project’s services will be identified via collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and community-based college access organizations throughout the State.
The goal of the project is to increase awareness amongst students, families, guidance counselors and college access mentors of postsecondary education opportunities, federal and state financial aid options and scholarship opportunities, the process for applying for college and financial aid, and the availability of free assistance to prepare for the SAT and ACT exams. The project will also facilitate and offer hands-on assistance to students and families as they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

PR Award # : P378A080008

Grantee :  Oregon University System State Board of Higher Education           
Director :  Diane Saunders and Joseph Holliday   
Telephone :  503-725-5714
E-mail   :
Year 1 Award : $697,006.00

Project Description:

Oregon has developed a collaborative cross-sector group to implement the College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) program including: the Oregon University System, Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, Independent Colleges Association, Oregon Student Assistance Commission, Employment Department, and Department of Human Services. This program will use CACG grant resources to achieve the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented students – both traditional age and adult learners – who are prepared for, enter, succeed in, and graduate from college. This will be addressed by increasing awareness of the need-based Oregon Opportunity Grant, the financial aid and college application process overall, and with a special focus on aiding adult students to understand the types of aid they are eligible for, and to support them with the college enrollment process, including on-campus follow up aspects. The match for the CACG will come from state funding for the need-based Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG) program expansion.
A comprehensive outreach campaign tied in to on-campus help and resources will be the focus of Oregon’s CACG program. This effort will coordinate with Oregon’s current successful outreach campaign to middle/high school students/families about financial aid and the OOG, and will expand into a new area: making more adults aware of college and financial aid opportunities, and the many pathways to a degree. Key program components will include: an adult-learner hotline to guide students through the financial aid and enrollment process, tied in to on-campus support services once they enroll; free internet-based resources for schools, social service, health, and other agencies and groups to use in their outreach materials with clients to increase awareness of financial aid and college preparation assistance; financial aid training provided to middle and high school counselors, training for college admissions hotline staff, and resources for community outreach events; printed outreach materials in both English and Spanish to be distributed through high schools, colleges, community-based, civic and other organizations; and a donated and paid advertising campaign to spread awareness of the Oregon Opportunity Grant through electronic and print media, targeted to both traditional age students and adult learners.

PR Award # : P378A080009

Grantee : Board of Regents, University System of Georgia

Director : Patricia Paterson

Telephone : 404-463-0105

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $2,089,027.00
Project Description:
The goals of Georgia’s College Access Challenge Grant Project is: (1) To increase the number of underrepresented students who graduate from Georgia high schools academically ready, informed about, supported, and motivated for postsecondary education; (2) To increase the number of underrepresented students graduating from Georgia high schools who successfully transition into, persist in, and complete postsecondary education; (3) To increase the college degree attainment of low-income adults who have some college credit but have not been enrolled in the past year and have not attained a degree.
Target Populations: (1) P-12 students who are underrepresented in postsecondary education and their families; and (2) low income adults at risk of not completing college.
Partners: The Chancellor of the University System of Georgia will lead implementation of Georgia’s College Access Plan on behalf of the Governor’s Office and the Alliance of Education Agency Heads. The Plan is a collaboration with the Governor’s Office, Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Student Finance Commission, Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, and Technical College System of Georgia. Additional partners include the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development; the Southern Regional Education Board, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and Communities in Schools Georgia.

  • Update, enhance, and expand access to GAcollege411, the State’s free Web-based portal to help students plan for, apply, and pay for college;

  • As a companion to GAcollege411, develop and disseminate modules and outreach materials to promote understanding among families and students underrepresented in postsecondary of the benefits and opportunities of postsecondary education;

  • Implement a comprehensive system of professional development and collaboration opportunities for school counselors, financial aid administrators, and college admissions counselors, including training on use of GAcollege411 financial aid services;

  • Establish a special fund—the Early College Grant Program—to fund all postsecondary education costs not covered through Georgia’s ACCEL (dual enrollment) program;

  • Implement Apply to College Week at high schools serving large percentages of underrepresented students;

  • Modify and/or expand postsecondary degree programs which are matched with workforce needs and strategic industries; and

  • Conduct outreach activities and enhance programs for adults returning to college (“stopped out” students with some college credits who have not attained a degree).

PR Award # : P378A080010

Grantee : Connecticut Department of Higher Education

Director : Mark E. French

Telephone : 860-947-1856

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $419,179.00

Project Description:

The Connections Program will be a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Higher Education (DHE) and Housatonic Community College for the development, implementation and evaluation of a demonstration project to explore the efficacy of an integrated mixture of intentional and intrusive interventions designed to bring about an acculturation process to assist Hispanic/Latinos and African Americans in surmounting the college access and success barriers.


The FAFSA First Program is designed to address the difficulties low-income students and families face in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The program will provide this target population basic information, guidance and assistance in completing the form and understanding the financial aid process. 


FAFSA Preparation – DHE will partner with Co-opportunity, the lead organization of the Hartford, Connecticut VITA campaign, to design and implement a free FAFSA completion and submission service linked to the VITA tax preparation services for low-income students and families.


FAFSA First Workshops – DHE will partner with College Goal Sunday Connecticut to provide supplemental FAFSA preparation and completion workshops. These events will allow for more students and families to receive assistance from financial aid professionals, than normally would be served by the College Goal Sunday event.

The Guidance Counselor Workshop – DHE will partner with the Connecticut Association of Professional Financial Aid Administrators, Connecticut College Goal Sunday and Know How To Go, to put on a one day Guidance Counselor workshop focused on the topic of successfully guiding low income, at-risk students through the college admissions and financial aid processes.

PR Award # : P378A080011

Grantee :   Iowa College Student Aid Commission

Project :   Brenda Easter

Telephone :   515-725-3415

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $474,145.00
Project Description:
The purpose of Iowa’s College Access Challenge Grant (ICACG) project will be to enable access to postsecondary education opportunity and promote a college-going culture among low-income and underrepresented students across the state.
The goals of the Iowa College Access Challenge Grant are: (1) to provide low-income and underrepresented students with access to Iowa College Student Aid Commission products and services which promote college-going expectations and provide practical information for college planning; and (2) to provide need-based grant aid to low-income and underrepresented students to enable qualified students to fully participate in the college experience.
The ICACG will help support a statewide system of public awareness, information, and services for low-income students in the form of a Web portal to online resources, aid applications, and staff assistance. The portal will allow students to apply for state-funded student financial aid programs, save applications, view and archive awards, compare student financial aid available from all sources, and make informed decisions about postsecondary education financing. The Web portal will be a single source for a range of tools to help students identify, understand, and apply for financial aid and obtain direct assistance from grantee staff in completing the FAFSA. College Access Challenge Grant resources will also provide need-based grant assistance to students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds.

PR Award # : P378A080012

Grantee :  Indiana Commission Higher Education             
Director :  Jeffrey L. Spalding
Telephone :  317-464-4400  
E-mail : Year 1 Award : $1,223,581.00

Project Description:

According to the Lumina Foundation in its “What We Know” research series, large and growing gaps in postsecondary educational access and success of students, based on their socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, undermine the goal of equity delineated in the Higher Education Act of 1965. These gaps indicate that thousands of capable and motivated students face formidable roadblocks to a college education. The primary obstacles to access and success are unmet financial need, inadequate academic preparation, and insufficient information, guidance and encouragement.
The state of Indiana faces a unique dichotomy when addressing access issues. The dichotomy lies in the fact that in 1992 the state ranked 34th in the nation for college going rates, but now ranks 10th. While Indiana has seen significant improvement in the number of people entering post-secondary education, more than 40 percent fail to complete a degree within six years.

Indiana, through the College Access Challenge Grant, seeks to address the dichotomies affecting access and degree attainment for all residents. Indiana will work through existing infrastructures to build/add sustainable local capacities across the state with the goal of improving access and success rates among low-income students while systematizing important messages and information regarding access, affordability, and preparation for all Indiana residents. Grant funds will accelerate Indiana’s goal of ensuring every resident an understanding of the steps needed to access and succeed in postsecondary education.

PR Award # : P378A080013
Grantee :  State Council of Higher Education for Virginia             
Director :  Dr. Monica Osei    
Telephone :  804-225-2600  
E-mail :
Year 1 Award : $1,010,007.00

Project Description:

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in partnership with other state agencies, private industry, and non-profit organizations, will develop and undertake a comprehensive campaign to disseminate information about access to postsecondary education to the residents of the Commonwealth. The proposed project, “Information is Key to Access and Success,” is an important first step in Virginia’s campaign to educate students and parents, with emphasis on low-income families and traditionally underrepresented groups, about the tools necessary and services and resources available to assist them with successful transition from high school to postsecondary education.
The purpose of the proposed project is to “demystify” postsecondary education by providing information on the importance of education beyond high school graduation, career planning and choices, and clarifying how to apply for, finance, and enroll and succeed in a postsecondary education setting. With a focus on students from low-income families, the proposed information campaign will offer opportunities for students and parents to receive information “where they are” via print media and internet-based databases. The project will include the following initiatives: (a) education workshops addressing the importance of postsecondary education and career planning; (b) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) day to assist parents with completing the FAFSA; (c) development of a Web portal; and (d) professional development for middle and high school counselors and financial aid and admissions personnel in postsecondary education settings. Efforts will include targeting selected school divisions and selected regions, and statewide dissemination of information.
With concentrated effort to reach and inform students from low-income families, the planned initiatives should successfully accomplish three goals:

  • To increase students’ and parents’ awareness and knowledge of access programs and providers operating in the Commonwealth and to inform students of the importance of planning early for postsecondary education;

  • To increase students’ and parents’ knowledge of financial aid and scholarship opportunities and assist parents with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form;

  • To augment the work of middle and high school counselors and financial aid and admissions personnel by providing information through print media, workshops, and an internet-based database on the tools and resources needed to assist students with transition from high school to postsecondary education.

PR Aware # : P378A080014

Grantee : SD Dept of Education, Office of Indian Education

Director : Keith Moore

Telephone : 605-773-6118

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $330,000.00
Project Description:
The South Dakota College Access Challenge grant program (SDCAC) strives to meet two goals: (1) increase students’ and parents’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing; and (2) increase the number of students who enroll in postsecondary education within one year of high school graduation.
The Governor of South Dakota, M. Michael Rounds, has designated the South Dakota Department of Education, Office of Indian Education, as the agency responsible for administering the SDCAC program.
The SDCAC program will focus on five authorized activities: (1) Provide information to students and families on post-secondary education benefits, opportunities, planning and career preparation; (2) Conduct outreach activities for students who may be at risk of not enrolling in or completing college; (3) Assist students in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); (4) Implement professional development for guidance counselors at secondary schools to improve their capacity to assist students and parents; and (5) Offer need-based grant aid to students.
SDCAC will work with a diverse set of partners to provide authorized activities to students and families across the state of South Dakota who are living below the poverty line. These activities include college and career counseling; advising and mentoring; college visits; and workshops on postsecondary options, preparation, and financing.
Partners include various offices within the South Dakota Department of Education, Mid Central Education Cooperative, a local education agency, and 11 institutions of higher education including four technical institutes, all six South Dakota Regental Universities, and Sitting Bull Tribal College.
The SDCAC program includes a need-based scholarship component. In addition to federal funds, SDCAC partners provide scholarships as match.

PR Award # : P378A080015

Grantee : Alabama Department of Education
Director :  Sherry A. Key
Telephone : 334-242-9116
E-mail :
Year 1 Award : $1,128,810.00
Project Description:
The purpose of Alabama’s College Access Challenge Grant (ACACG) project is to increase the percentage of qualified high school students that graduate from high school and are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary/higher education and/or work.
The ACACG grant will target qualified underrepresented students (students and families who are living below the poverty line applicable to the individual’s family size) in each of Alabama’s counties and local school districts.
Overarching Goals: (1) Significantly increase the percentage of Alabama’s qualified underrepresented students that complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); enroll in college; and receive a certificate, credential, or degree annually; and (2) Improve the capacity of Alabama’s secondary and postsecondary counselors and financial aid administrators to promote financial literacy and deliver relevant financial awareness information for transition period from secondary to higher education to qualified underrepresented students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.

PR Award # : P378A80016

Grantee : Kansas Board of Regents

Director : Diane Lindeman

Telephone : 785-296-4749

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $501,000.00
Project Description:
The plan proposed for the Kansas College Access Challenge Grant (KCACG) project is threefold. It encompasses the areas of training, education, and early awareness. KCACG will broaden opportunities for students, parents, guidance counselors, financial aid administrators, and other interested parties to be exposed to information and education about postsecondary education and financial aid possibilities.
Within the training aspect of this plan, KCACG will expand the existing high school counselor training workshops that are conducted each fall and sponsored by the Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (KASFAA). At present this training consists of one-half day educational sessions held in three regional areas of the state, with anywhere from two to three sites within each regional area. Every high school counselor in the state is invited to the training and it is estimated that fewer than 50 percent of counselors are able to attend. KACG will expand the number of training sites and include middle/junior high school counselors, as well as principals and Federal TRIO program colleagues in the invitations to the training. In addition, it would include TRIO program counselors not only as participants but as trainers in providing information about their programs to the high school/middle school counselors. The goal is to cast a wider net in providing financial aid educational opportunities to those individuals who have direct contact, within the schools, about higher educational access and affordability.
The educational aspect of the plan would also include the expansion of the existing College Goal Sunday programs that are coordinated by KASFA. The goal is to enhance access to lower income families and first generation families who don’t have any experience with higher education and may not have the financial resources to travel even 30 to 60 miles to one of the sites. KCACG will expand the number of sites in the state particularly in some of the urban and rural sites to allow easier access for families.
The third component of the plan involves early awareness. Early awareness initiatives are important in increasing the number of low income and at-risk students pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities by encouraging them at an early age. KCACG will allow the state to expand the current TRIO Talent Search summer programs that are offered at six sites. These programs provide educational awareness about postsecondary education opportunities, financial aid information and career exploration to students from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds. By raising students’ aspirations about postsecondary education and providing them with the tools that are needed to be eligible and successful, all Kansas citizens will benefit.

PR Award # : P378A080017

Grantee : The University of North Carolina General Administration

Director : Harold Martin

Telephone : 919-962-4614

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $1,898,667.00
Project Description:
The North Carolina College Access Challenge Grant Program (NC CACGP) will expand the scope of existing services and enhance college access efforts currently in existence through a strong collaborative effort of the University of North Carolina General Administration, the lead organization, and the NC Community College System, the NC Independent Colleges and Universities, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the NC State Education Assistance Authority, and the pre-college programs housed on the North Carolina college and university campuses. The purpose of the NC project is two-pronged:

  • Encourage and increase postsecondary enrollment by expanding access to information about course transferability between NC community colleges and senior institutions, both public and private, through the College Foundation North Carolina (CFNC) Online Transfer Articulation and Transcript System; and

  • Enhance current pre-college outreach initiatives through strengthened collaboration, strategic planning, evaluation, and leadership oversight.

In an effort to build upon existing college access initiatives including the statewide college planning Web portal,, a well-defined comprehensive articulation agreement between University of North Carolina and the NC Community Colleges, and a network of over 40 established pre-college programs and 41 early college high schools, the NC CACGP will increase high school students’ preparation for college by providing online college courses and transfer advising, and expand statewide programs to increase the number of low income students applying for college and financial aid. Specific goals include improving the ease of transferring credit from community colleges to senior institutions, increasing the college application and FAFSA completion rate of students, and strengthening the effectiveness of existing college access initiatives to address the needs of low income students and their families.

PR Award # : P378A080018

Grantee : Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Director : Pamela Taylor
Telephone : 202-724-2146
E-mail : Year 1 Award : $330,000.00

Project Description:

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will provide the District of Columbia students and families with services in three key areas: awareness, access, and advocacy. The goals of this program are to: (1) increase District students and families knowledge of how to prepare for, gain acceptance and finance a college education; (2) provide District parents and students with a deeper understanding of college financing (including financial literacy and debt management); and (3) increase the number of students who persist through critical college transitions.
The OSSE will accomplish these goals by subgranting to the following organizations:

  • College Success Foundation

  • DC Parent Information Resource Center

  • The Posse Foundation

These organizations will provide the following activities and services:

  • Launch a citywide college awareness campaign;

  • Develop a comprehensive college information and resource Web site;

  • Conduct financial literacy and college financing workshops for parents;

  • Provide professional development training for college faculty at selected institutions; and

  • Provide campus support training for college first- and second-year students.

PR Award : P378A080019

Grantee : Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Director : Emily C. Kissane

Telephone : 651-259-3965

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $735,025.00
Project Description:
The Minnesota College Access Challenge Grant (MCACG) project will increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and succeed in postsecondary education by focusing on two areas:
Increasing and enhancing counseling and advising capacity for counselors and teachers at middle and secondary schools by:

  • Providing professional development on comprehensive school counseling programs, models and processes designed to increase students’ ability to successfully prepare for college (including leadership training, teamwork, tutoring, mentoring and preparedness for postsecondary entrance exams);

  • Funding first-year licensing, installment and training for Web-based counseling tools;

  • Delivering training and resources needed to implement effective Web-based counseling and academic planning tools to help prepare large numbers of students for college in more systematic ways; and

  • Providing workshops on the effective use of assessment data in teaching and counseling students, specifically the use of ACT’s EPAS assessments.

Helping low-income students and their families understand college access and financial aid by:

  • Training counselors, teachers, college staff and community leaders to become competent financial aid presenters and resources for low-income families; and

  • Providing information to students and parents in targeted communities regarding planning for postsecondary education, financial aid and assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid through community-based events.

PR Award : P378A080020

Grantee : Louisiana Board of Regents

Director : Theresa R. Hay

Telephone : 225-342-4253

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $1,239,533.00

Project Description:
The purpose of the grant program is to increase underrepresented students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education benefits and opportunities, planning and preparing for college and career, financial planning and availability of and procedures for federal and state student financial aid programs.
The goals of the program are: (1) to increase the number of students and families in targeted areas of the state who have received information about and understand the availability of federal and state student financial aid; (2) to increase the number of students in the targeted areas who enroll in college after high school; and (3) to increase the number of qualified students in the targeted areas who receive Pell and the state’s need based financial aid grant.
The Louisiana Board of Regents will partner with other state agencies and contract with consultants to conduct activities to identify and target areas of the state where students are least likely to enroll or plan to enroll in college and/or demonstrate the need for student financial assistance and coordinate outreach activities to students and their families in these targeted areas of the state.
The Louisiana Board of Regents will: (1) conduct targeted marketing (media) activities to inform students and their families of benefits of postsecondary education and availability of postsecondary opportunities (including technical education, community colleges and universities); (2) develop printed and electronic marketing materials (informational brochures, posters and video) and disseminate to students and their families on the Web portal and at workshops and summer camps; and (3) contract with consultants to expand LAePortal (Web) to provide information on postsecondary financing options, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and financial literacy for students and their families.
The Louisiana TRIO Talent Search Programs will conduct academic, career and financial counseling at informational workshops for middle and high school students and parents to inform them of benefits of postsecondary education and availability of postsecondary opportunities (including technical education, community colleges and universities).
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance will conduct Pre-College Goal Sunday informational workshops for middle school students and families to inform them about taking the core curriculum in high school, dual enrollment opportunities, financial aid, FAFSA, and financial literacy.

PR Award # : P378A080021

Grantee : Montana / Montana State University (Creative Research Lab)

Director : Terry Beaubois

Telephone : 406-994-4184

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $330,000.00
Project Description:
The overall goals of Montana’s College Access Challenge Grant (MCACG) project are:

  • Engaging underrepresented students and families, school counselors, and college admissions officers in interesting new ways of addressing college preparation, access and success;

  • Gathering data “why” Montana students do or do not go on to college;

  • Increasing the number of students completing Free Application for Federal Student

Aid (FAFSA);

  • Efficiently and effectively addressing Montana’s educational information needs, bridging

the distances that are such an imposing factor in reaching Montana’s population;

  • Building collaboration within the education community to foster a college going culture;

  • Providing professional development to K-12 counselors and college admissions officers;

  • Creating sustainability of this project after this two-year College Access Challenge Grant

period; and

  • Creating a 21st Century online resource – Virtual Montana College Access -- that anyone

with internet access can reach from anywhere in Montana 24 hours a day, seven days a

week, 52 weeks a year.

The Montana College Access Challenge Grant (MCACG) project , Go2CollegeMT, will employ both traditional and leading edge technology to communicate valuable information and engage Montana citizens in creating the “college going culture” called for in many of the Governor’s programs related to education. The Go2CollegeMT project will raise the awareness in underrepresented students, of the opportunities available to all Montana students; and contribute to more Montana students that are prepared for college, apply for college, and successfully continue to the completion of a degree or certificate.
This project will create an online multimedia resource (with print, video, online, and 3D internet components), “Going to College in Montana -- A Virtual Adventure,” as one components of the Go2CollegeMT project, as an engaging new resource for Montana students and families, school counselors, college admissions officers, and financial aid officers.
Go2College MT will partner with OPI and OCHE to pilot the development of electronic transmission of transcripts and student support services that facilitate dual enrollment opportunities and programs. Because one of the major limitations to dual enrollment is awareness and communication, this project the first year will focus on information for universities, K-12 principals, teachers, students, and parents.
PR Award # : P378A080022

Grantee : Michigan Department of Treasury

Director : Robert L. Kleine

Telephone : 517-373-3223

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $2,092,786.00

Project Description:
The Michigan College Access Challenge Grant (MCACG) project will equip more Michigan families to take extra steps on the Pre-school through College (P-16) pathway toward a college degree and train local counselors and communities to create a college-going culture that supports those steps.
The Program will be built on the successful state level collaboration for Michigan GEAR UP/College Day (GU/CD) between the Department of Treasury, Department of Labor and Economic Growth and EduGuide: Partnership for Learning. It will provide detailed information to more than 1,000,000 Michigan families and services to more than 1,000 college pathway professionals. In the 36 Michigan GEAR UP communities, where more than seventy-five percent of students on average qualify for free or reduced lunch, the Program will go deeper to create local collaborations and family college clubs that will build a college-going culture.
The Program will expand services to families in the GU/CD cohort and to others in GU/CD schools and communities as well as students placed in foster care. It will provide personal assessments, planning and coaching through an online college club and on-site training events.

Counselors, teachers and community leaders will be trained, equipped with tools and provided an online learning community for seeking to support these students on their way to college.

The Program is designed around extensive research and partner experience in working with first generation families, including a detailed national study on the use of digital strategies to reach such families. It addresses specific Michigan needs, including creating a community to support greater collaboration among college pathway professionals in Michigan, which has no State Higher Education Executive Officer or formal college access network.

PR Award # : P378A080023

Grantee : Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board            
Director : Judy Loredo
Telephone : 512-427-6248
E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $6,262,491.00

Project Description:
In 2000, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) adopted Closing the Gaps by 2015 as the higher education plan for the state. In spite of considerable progress made toward achieving the plan’s goals for postsecondary participation and success, significant challenges remain, most notably, for reaching target numbers for the Hispanic population. Funds from the College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) Program will be used to: (1) increase awareness of the importance of postsecondary education and how to prepare for it academically; (2) provide knowledge and skills to students and their parents enabling them to apply to and pay for college; and (3) provide counselor professional development incorporating strategies to prepare underrepresented students for success in accessing and completing postsecondary education.
There are five major components to Texas’ implementation plan for the CACG project: (1) creation and implementation of a public awareness campaign focusing on the importance of college readiness; (2) provision of professional development for counselors; (3) outreach activities through the College Connection model; (4) partnerships with community-based organizations for outreach to minority communities; and (5) mentoring provided through college work-study funding.
Texas Counseling Association is a CACG partner and will develop training materials and conduct a training-of-trainers to be deployed statewide in professional development for counselors. Requests for Proposals will invite the 21 regional P-16 Councils in existence on or before September 27, 2007, as well as other qualifying nonprofit educational organizations, to apply for funds for community partnership outreach and College Connection programs. This approach will ensure that planning and coordination for all outreach activities occurs locally and serves the schools and populations most in need. A new statewide college readiness awareness campaign will be developed, with materials in a broad array of media deployed through CACG sub-grantees and other existing programs and networks, such as GO Centers, that focus on college access.

PR Award # :  P378A080024

Grantee :  Utah State Board of Regents

Director :  Melissa Miller Kincart

Telephone :  801-366-8492

E-mail :

Year 1 Award :  $433,354.00


Project Description:

The Utah State Board of Regents (Board), as the state agency designated by Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. to apply for, and administer College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) project. The Board has one overriding goal—to dramatically increase the percentage of Pell-eligible students in Utah who qualify for, and receive, federal Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACGs), from 12.8 percent (2006-2007) to 35 percent by 2010. Consistent with this goal, the Board plans to expend grant funds on three principal objectives, one focused on local activities, one focused on regional activities, and one focused on statewide activities.
First, the Board will use a third of the funds for intensive implementation of the Utah Scholars Initiative (State Scholars Initiative) in 20 local high schools with high populations of low-income students in order to help students complete a rigorous core of study in high school that will make them academically eligible for ACGs. Second, the Board will use a third of the funds for a series of regional training workshops, attached to public colleges in the Utah System of Higher Education, to enable college financial aid and admissions counselors, public school guidance counselors, and college outreach program staff to better advise and mentor low-income students and their parents. Third, and finally, the Board will use a third of the funds to defray the costs of the UtahMentor Web site, an highly visible and successful Internet portal that provides a wide array of college access information to Utah high school students throughout the state.

PR Award # : P378A080025

Grantee : Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

Director : Lora Jorgensen, Director of Outreach & Early Awareness

Telephone : 907-269-7591

E-mail :

Year 1 Award : $330,000.00

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