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Sweet Home School District awarded $51,506 grant to increase college access

Contact: Di Saunders, OUS – Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869
Source: Stephanie Carnahan, CACGP Program Director – Office: 541-346-5761; Cell: 541-359-6755

Sweet Home School District awarded $51,506 grant to increase college access

Portland, OR, October 19, 2010 – The State of Oregon announced last week that it has awarded a $51,506 grant to Sweet Home School District’s Making Dreams Happen project to help the district increase college preparedness, awareness and access for its students. Funded through a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education received by Oregon in August, Sweet Home’s award is part of the College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) which awarded grants to 12 pre-college preparation programs across the state for a total of $607,000 in support.

Sweet Home’s Making Dreams Happen project will be implemented at Sweet Home High School with the goal of increasing the number under-represented students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. In addition, the project will provide guidance and college awareness workshops to parents and families. To achieve this goal, the project will prepare students for their dream of college by encouraging and promoting academic achievement; will help students realize their dream through college awareness activities and career exploration; and will give students access to their dreams through campus visits linked to career aspirations.

“Sweet Home students have a hard time dreaming. How can one dream about their future when present day reality of poverty, homelessness and poor academics smack them in the face day in and day out?” said Kristin Adams, GEAR-UP Coordinator for the Sweet Home High School. “Through our GEAR UP program and now the College Access Challenge Grant Program, we are working diligently to give our students an early awareness of the value of education as well as the support system to get them through a successful high school career and solid footing for postsecondary education. These programs give students permission to dream and the support system they need to make their dream happen. To see the look on a student’s face when they realize the dream is no more a dream…but reality instead…is simply amazing. These programs and our partnership with Oregon State University and Linn Benton Community College is an incredible gift to our community and all that we are doing to make dreams happen.”

Sweet Home School District will partner with Oregon State University and Linn Benton Community College to deliver the programming to students. Besides the $51,506 provided by the grant, Sweet Home School District will be providing an additional $39,260 (mostly through in-kind services) in matching funds to run the program.

Stephanie Carnahan, director of college access programs for the Oregon University System, said, “There is a great need in Oregon for pre-college programs that help students and families understand how to access college in a comprehensive way, from academic preparation to understanding how financial aid works. Making Dreams Happen is a great example of the type of support that all Oregon students need in order to ensure that they can access college and be academically and otherwise prepared to succeed in their education and career goals.”

The College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) is a formula grant program that is designed to foster partnerships among Federal, State and local government entities and philanthropic organizations to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education. CACGP provides two-year grants to States to meet the needs of underrepresented students and families. In Oregon, all education sectors and the Governor’s Office are involved in the CACGP, and the Oregon University System is the fiscal agent for the grant.

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services, and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.

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