University of Michigan Report Confirms Success of College for Every Student (CFES) in Preparing Rural Students for College
CORNWALL, Vt., Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A report prepared by the University of Michigan found positive outcomes for rural students engaged in the school-college partnerships created by College For Every Student (CFES), a non-profit organization that prepares underrepresented students for academic success in college.
CFES partners K-12 schools with colleges to implement three primary core practices:
- Pathways to College -- college visits, and partnerships with colleges and college students.
- Peer Mentoring—mentee/mentor relationships.
- Leadership Through Service—leadership development workshops and community service.
CFES core practices "provide a compelling model for building college knowledge in schools serving underrepresented students," said Professor Edward P. St. John, a professor of higher education at the University of Michigan who authored the report.
Professor St. John and his doctoral students visited five rural schools in New York and Florida in May 2010 where they interviewed middle and high school students, educators and community leaders. The University of Michigan team found that student engagement in CFES:
- Eased student and parent concerns about college costs, a factor that prevents students from considering college.
- Encouraged students to apply for financial aid.
- Provided social support networks for students that encouraged preparation for college.
- Built navigational skills through mentoring and leadership programs that helped students make informed choices about college.
- Provided opportunities to build trustworthy information about college to counter information from families and communities that might not encourage college as an option.
- Enabled students to develop college knowledge through reflective conversations about college visits and other programs.
- Provided a foundation for educational uplift for students and families within their rural communities.
Students in rural areas face unique barriers to college-going, including mistrust of education, familial responsibilities, and parental fear of kids leaving the community or family businesses, according to the report.
The researchers found that CFES gave rural students "a new reality" by helping them "imagine themselves in college because they could understand the options available."
"It's lack of opportunity, not ability, that keeps underserved kids from college," said Rick Dalton, CEO of CFES. "By creating a culture of college for these students, we help them envision possibilities for themselves, for college and beyond."
CFES is a non-profit organization located in Vermont that has created college-access partnerships with more than 500 schools across the country serving more than 100,000 students. For more information, please visit www.collegefes.org, or call 802-462-3170.
SOURCE College For Every Student