Ohio College Access Network Grant Awarded to Kent State Stark
The Kent State University Stark Campus received a 2006 Best Practice Implementation Grant from the Ohio College Access Network fund for a local education partnership they developed.
The Stark Campus is using the $23,450 grant to expand Application Action, their partnership with Canton South High School that began in January 2006. Kent State Stark used the grant to bring Canton South coach to mentor, advise and encourage the students. Student success and retention rates for the first semester are better than expected.
Application Action enables high school seniors to realize their college potential by admitting the entire senior class to Kent State University Stark Campus. Using the college application as a senior English class writing exercise, 100 percent of the Canton South High School class of 2006 was admitted to college with the help of Kent State Stark admissions officers.
To make this possible, Dean Betsy Boze waived the application fee and sent financial aid officers to the high school to work with parents to complete the federal financial aid FAFSA forms. Canton South administration gave the senior class a day off for a campus visit.
Last summer, Canton South graduates were given a free week-long college success and orientation seminar and awarded scholarships bringing the cost of a Kent State Stark summer course to $150, about one-fourth of the usual tuition. Although students did not know when they registered, if they earned a “C” or better, they got their tuition back in the form of a $150 bookstore voucher.
Application Action should lead to growth in Stark County’s educational attainment rate, removing students’ and their parents’ excuses for not attending college. Dr. Boze explained that she got the idea from watching a floor to ceiling gauge measuring college admissions when she attended Canton Symphony performances at McKinley High School.
“I wondered why it wasn’t at 100 percent and I knew that as the dean of an open admission university, I could personally do something about it. Earning a college degree requires hard work and a commitment of time and resources. Getting into college should not be the problem,” says Dr. Boze.
Dr. Boze knew that the Application Action program was worth the universities' investment when a woman told her about her daughter, pregnant at age 15, that had given up her dream of going to college. The woman wasn’t sure what had happened or how, but she told Dean Boze that her daughter had come to her the previous week with Kent State’s letter of acceptance in hand saying “Mom, I’m going to college!” Boze says “This is exactly the outcome we hoped for. From the beginning, we have used the ‘starfish on the beach’ analogy. If we change one life, it is worth it, at least to that person.”
Kent State Stark has received grant funds to expanded Application Action to Massillon Washington and Canton McKinley High Schools for the classes of 2007, and Dr. Boze would eventually like to see every Stark County student admitted to Kent State Stark through this program.
“When I came to Kent State, I was surprised at the low college going rate in Ohio,” says Dr. Boze. “I wanted to change the perception and mindset of high school students and their families. Through this program, a generation of students will realize that they can go to college. Whether they attend Kent State is not the issue. For the rest of their lives, they will know that they got into college. I want them to tell their brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and eventually their children that they, too, can go to college.”
For more information visit the Stark Campus Web site.