College Access Program in Philadelphia
WRITTEN BY: TAYLOR ALLEN
The Philadelphia Education Fund received a $3 million federal grant for its College Access Program to support students from five city high schools to pursue college.
The $3 million will be allotted to the five city schools over the course of five years. It is expected to benefit 1,200 students.
The schools that will benefit are Kensington CAPA, Olney Charter, John Bartram, Robeson, and Roxborough. These particular schools were chosen on a need-based system. All schools in the city that were considered showed signs of low student retention, low-income families, and low post-secondary education enrollment rates.
The organization will have at least one college access coordinator within each of the five schools. These coordinators will work in contact with the school guidance counselors as well as their staffs. They are expected to interact with students daily.
The College Access Program also provides students with access to workshops, enhanced college visits, SAT/ACT preparation, financial aid assistance and referrals to GED and Adult Diploma programs.
Kimberly Stephens, the vice president of the Post-Secondary Opportunity Program within the Philadelphia Education Fund, believes that it’s important to focus on students with need.
“Students are passionate about going to college,” Stephens said. “There are partners and organizations available to give access and awareness for students and these students need to be aware of that. There are partners and people willing to help.”
The organization has received generous grants in the past, but this grant was especially grand.
“I was elated,” Stephens said. “I was so very overwhelmed with joy, not for me personally, but the impact that I know that we will be able to have for the minimum of five years in Philadelphia.”
The Philadelphia Education Fund has a strong reputation. After five years of successfully giving students at Strawberry Mansion High School the resources to attend college, it migrated to Paul Robeson High School.
One of the program’s most notable alumni is Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez of the seventh district, who benefitted from the program while attending high school in North Philadelphia.
In addition to its large federal grant, other organizations have recognized the Philadelphia Education Fund’s success. Specifically, it receives support from Bank of America, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Patricia Kind Family Foundation and Lincoln Financial.
The College Access Program has helped more than 75,000 students graduate and get accepted to college.