Working Together to Strengthen the College-going Culture
In 2001, UCLA professor Patricia McDonough conducted a study of the college-going culture in the North State. This study revealed three major obstacles which prevented North State students from attending a four-year institution after high school. The obstacles:
- The cost of attending college and the limited knowledge of financial aid available for students and their families.
- The geographic remoteness and rural terrain of most of the North State
- The inability of North State high schools to offer the number of college prep courses (A-G) that other high schools throughout the state could offer.
As a result of this study and further discussion among stakeholders, the Northern California K-16 Partnership for Shasta and Siskiyou counties emerged in 2002-2003 with the primary purpose of creating a college-going culture in Shasta and Siskiyou counties.
Its broad-based goal was increasing the number of high school graduates that enter baccalaureate-granting institutions as freshmen and as transfer students. Thirteen secondary, post-secondary and private institutions joined the venture. This new partnership was funded through a combination of federal and private grants and institutional funding. The board, after considering several names for the new program, finally chose College OPTIONS.
College OPTIONS has focused on enhancing student, family and community awareness of college choices. In addition to having advisors on-site at every high school and some middle schools in the two counties, the College OPTIONS Access Center in Redding provides community events, financial aid services, and advisors to discuss career and educational goals, helping students and their families make informed choices about the best path for them. Advisors also conduct college readiness workshops and organize visits to colleges and universities. Partners in the project include the Shasta and Siskiyou County Offices of Education, and several North State colleges and universities.
Learn more about College OPTIONS at: www.collegeoptions.org