PHOENIX, April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Only 37 percent of Arizona's adult population has an associate degree or higher, with that number dropping in half for the Latino population. Recognizing the need to close this gap, Helios Education Foundation today announced a $5.1 million investment in its new College Knowing & Going initiative, a college and career readiness program supporting 18 school districts throughout Arizona, many of which represent low-income, Latino student populations. The initiative was unveiled today during the Foundation's ACT Summit at the Hyatt in downtown Phoenix to more than 160 attendees.
The five-year investment, in partnership with College Success Arizona, AzCAN and ACT, will provide high-school juniors and seniors at 83 schools across Arizona with access to and assistance with essential college-going practices, ultimately aiming to increase the number of students who complete a postsecondary education. College Knowing & Going will provide partner school districts with key infrastructure and resources including:
- ACT administration costs and access for all juniors, making the test available at no cost to these students
- Assistance with postsecondary planning and college applications
- Assistance with completing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms
"We are excited to announce our College Knowing & Going initiative today and estimate that this work will impact 145,000 students over the next five years," said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. "This partnership is helping create a college-going culture across the school districts, increasing the likelihood that these students will succeed in college and career and propel our state's economy forward."
It is estimated that 68 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require a post-secondary education by 2020, yet only 19 percent of Arizona's adult Latino population has an associate degree or higher. Helios aims to close this Latino student attainment gap and improve postsecondary degree completion rates. Ultimately, Helios is working to ensure that every student achieves a postsecondary education, breaking the cycle of poverty and unleashing Arizona's greatest talent potential, further ensuring the state is positioned to compete and thrive in a knowledge-based, global economy.
The selected districts represent schools in Maricopa, Santa Cruz, Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Gila, Mohave, Pima, Pinal and Yuma counties and include:
- Chandler Unified District #80 (Chandler, seven schools)
- Flagstaff Unified District (Flagstaff, three schools)
- Florence Unified School District (Florence, two schools)
- Flowing Wells Unified District (Tucson, one school)
- Glendale Union High School District (Glendale, nine schools)
- Globe Unified District (Globe, one school)
- Higley Unified School District (Gilbert, two schools)
- Lake Havasu Unified District (Lake Havasu, one school)
- Nogales Unified District (Nogales, one school)
- Peoria Unified School District (Peoria, eight schools)
- Phoenix Union High School District (Phoenix, 15 schools)
- Round Valley Unified District (Round Valley, one school)
- Sunnyside Unified District (Tucson, two schools)
- Tolleson Union High School District (Tolleson, six schools)
- Tucson Unified District (Tucson, 11 schools)
- Vail Unified District (Vail, five schools)
- Winslow Unified District (Winslow, one school)
- Yuma Union High School District (Yuma, six schools)
The initiative begins during this 2015-2016 school year and continues through 2019-2020. In addition to funding for ACT and college readiness, a portion of the $5.1 million dedicated to the College Knowing & Going initiative will be used for education and student research that will be beneficial for future educational investments and student access.
Visit Helios.org to learn more about College Knowing & Going and the importance of encouraging all students to achieve a postsecondary education.
About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectation, college-going culture. Through a decade of strategic partnership and investment, Helios has identified Early Grade Success, College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Completion as the three most critical reform priorities in achieving our long-term goal. As an engaged foundation, embedded in communities across both states, the Foundation is contributing its expertise and financial resources to better prepare students for college and career and to compete successfully in a global economy. Since 2006, Helios has invested over $167 million in education-related programs and initiatives in Arizona and Florida. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.helios.org.
Kendra Schmitt (623) 201-5575
Tassi Castillo (623) 201-5573
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SOURCE Helios Education Foundation