Outreach (State-Funded Initiatives to Ensure Students Are Well-Prepared)
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Outreach (State-Funded Initiatives to Ensure Students Are Well-Prepared)

This database indicates state-funded outreach efforts to provide students and their parents with information on students' progress toward completing high school graduation requirements, postsecondary and career options and admission requirements to four-year public postsecondary institutions, and assistance in completing financial aid applications. While most states have initiated Web sites that provide this information, this database focuses on state efforts to actively reach out to students and parents.

Why does it matter?

  • Many students aspire to go to college, but need help navigating postsecondary options and completing college admissions and financial aid procedures.
  • Parents — both those who attended college and those who did not — are often not knowledgeable about postsecondary options, college admissions requirements, tuition costs and scholarship opportunities. Everyone benefits when parents also receive the resources they need to help their children through the college preparation process.
  • Low-income families are less likely to have access to the Internet at home — so just sending a link to a Web site will not meet their needs.
  • As opposed to middle-income families, which are more likely to launch multi-year information gathering  efforts to prepare for college, students whose parents have less formal education and who are lower-income rely more on advice from guidance counselors (when available), unsolicited college marketing materials, and information specifically requested from postsecondary institutions or provided at college fairs.
  • Low-income families and first-generation college-goers need more targeted assistance in differentiating between information of greater and lesser importance, and interpreting and using it.
  • Low-income parents know they need assistance in helping in their children’s college searches, but they do not know what information they need or where to locate the most reliable information.
  • Students and their families would benefit from additional information and resources and from assistance in interpreting and using college search information.
  • Parents must be kept in the loop on where their students stand on meeting graduation requirements — so they can help the school when their student falls off track.
  • Surveys of young dropouts indicate that parents often didn't know there were problems at school until it was too late.
  • Making plans for college can't wait till the senior year of high school.

    Highlights:
  • At least 13 states have outreach policies or initiatives targeted at students and parents to ensure students are well-prepared to complete high school and apply for postsecondary admissions and financial aid.
  • Eight states require all students and/or their parents to receive notification on high school graduation requirements, their student's individual progress toward meeting graduation requirements, state-set college admissions requirements, or other such information.

    Methodology:
    This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agencies, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Sources for all data points are available through this link.

    Last updated: July 22, 2008

    Research conducted by Michael Colasanti. Please contact Jennifer Dounay, 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database. 


  • Outreach (state-funded initiatives to ensure students are well-prepared)
    Arizona The University Recruitment and Retention Program is directed towards economically disadvantaged, minority and underrepresented student populations for the purpose of expanding student enrollment. The program must include outreach efforts at the high school level.
    Arkansas The higher education coordinating board is required to work with public institutions of higher education (and private institutions that wish to participate) "to annually provide updated or additional information for the information packages provided to" 7th graders and their parents on postsecondary options in the state, "the courses required to attend colleges and universities, and the financial requirements and assistance available for students pursuing" postsecondary education. "Sessions to discuss postsecondary options" must be held each spring at every school with a 7th grade class.

    The higher education coordinating board must annually compile information on "academic scholarships for freshmen entering institutions of higher education in the state" and "state-funded programs that provide opportunities for developing technical job skills and apprenticeships." Each public high school counselor must provide this information to students in the counselor's school.

    Individual schools must "make special efforts to ensure that as many students and parents ... as possible are made aware of the opportunity to receive information, are urged to attend the counseling sessions, and" receive "the information packages. Businesses are requested to provide the opportunity for employees "to attend the counseling sessions and to cooperate with institutions of higher education in presenting at the work site small group and one-on-one counseling on courses that are required for postsecondary education and postsecondary options and financial requirements and assistance available for postsecondary education."
    California The Community College Student Financial Aid Outreach Program was established to provide financial aid training to high school and community college counselors and advisors. The program provides specialized information on financial aid available to high school students planning on attending a community college and community college students who later plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. The program also includes student and family workshops that provide general information regarding financial aid and technical assistance in completing financial aid forms.

    In addition, the Student Opportunity and Access Program, which is administered by the Student Aid Commission, is designed to aid projects that increase the accessibility of postsecondary opportunities for elementary and secondary school students who are low-income, first-generation college-goers, or from schools or regions with low college-eligibility or college participation rates. The projects that are assisted by the program should be designed primarily, in part, to:
  • Increase the availability of information on the existence of postsecondary schooling and work opportunities.
  • Raise the achievement levels of students to increase the number of high school graduates eligible to pursue postsecondary learning opportunities.

    Legislation requires school districts to provide annual written notification of specified information to parents of students in grades 9-12. Each such notification must include (1) A list of the current University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) Web sites that help students and their families learn about college admission requirements and that list high school courses approved by the UC and CSU systems to meet admission requirements; and (2) Information about how students may meet with school counselors to
    help them choose courses that will meet college admission requirements.
  • Colorado Every local board and the state charter school institute board must provide the names and addresses of all 8th graders to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), which in turn must contact the parents of all 8th grade students to provide information on postsecondary educational opportunities.

    The information provided includes: the commission's higher education admission guidelines, a student's potential need for remediation, any related financial obligations that may fall to the student's parent, that a student who fails a course listed in the admissions guidelines may enroll in a remedial course to satisfy those guidelines, the availability of information regarding financial assistance to attend a higher education institution (including stipend amounts, tuition and other financial aid), the annual state stipend amount (pursuant to § 23-18-202), the annual cost of in-state tuition, the amount of the student's share of tuition (pursuant to § 23-18-207) and notification that the stipend amount and the amount of tuition may change annually.
    Iowa Beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, districts must report to each student in grades 9-12, and to each minor student's parents, the student's progress toward completing the model core curriculum and high school graduation requirements.

    In addition, the college-bound program, administered by the Iowa Board of Regents, is designed to provide minority students with information and experiences related to educational opportunities at the universities under the jurisdiction of the regents. The program includes the following components:
  • Reinforcement of efforts to attract undergraduate students from age groups currently served by traditional methods of outreach.
  • Extension of traditional recruitment methods which are designed to encourage minority students in 7th-12th grade to pursue postsecondary opportunities.
  • Identification of courses of study to be targeted for the recruitment of minority students.

  • The program includes a voucher system for students who complete a college-bound program. The vouchers are used at the regents universities to give students priority over other students who are applying for grants under the Iowa Minority Academic Grants for Economic Success Program.
    Maine The Finance Authority of Maine is required to administer an outreach program that:
  • Provides career and financial aid counseling to middle and high school students and their parents, and to adults seeking postsecondary education.
  • Provides, to the extent of available resources, counseling services in accessible locations statewide to assist eligible participants.
  • Provide eligible participants with information on career options, education programs and postsecondary schools.
  • Maryland Each high school principal must annually provide all parents and students with information on:
  • Maryland high school graduation requirements
  • The student's progress towards fulfilling the credit, Maryland High School Assessment, service and applicable IEP graduation requirements
  • The results of each Maryland High School Assessment taken by the student
  • Plans for appropriate assistance/remediation
  • The department's testing schedule

  • In addition, as part of the statewide higher education plan, the president of the board of regents must "Stimulate outreach to the community and state through close relationships with public elementary and secondary schools, business and industry, and governmental agencies."
    Minnesota The director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education is directed to "award grants to foster postsecondary attendance by providing outreach services to historically underserved students in grades 6-12. Grants must be awarded to programs that provide precollege services, including, but not limited to:
    (1) Academic counseling
    (2) Mentoring
    (3) Fostering and improving parental involvement in planning for and facilitating a college education
    (4) Services for students with English as a second language
    (5) Academic enrichment activities
    (6) Tutoring
    (7) Career awareness and exploration
    (8) Orientation to college life
    (9) Assistance with high school course selection and information about college admission requirements
    (10) Financial aid counseling."
    South Dakota By November 1 of each year, each school district must provide the names and addresses of every student in grades 7-12 to the board of regents. The board provides information to students' parents on the courses needed to prepare for postsecondary work. Parents may notify the district that they do not want their information distributed to the board of regents.
    Tennessee The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) is directed to develop and provide information on scholarships and postsecondary admissions requirements, including:
    (1) Eligibility requirements for the various lottery scholarships
    (2) Admission standards for eligible postsecondary institutions and the differences between admission standards and scholarship eligibility requirements
    (3) Computation of grade point averages for lottery scholarship eligibility (for both initial eligibility and retention)
    (4) Testing dates for the ACT and SAT and the use of such tests in postsecondary admissions decisions.

    This information must be provided to students on any lottery scholarship day TSAC conducts (TSAC not mandated to conduct lottery scholarship day), and to the department of education for dissemination to schools holding lottery scholarship days. TSAC must submit the scholarship and postsecondary admissions information in a summarized form to the department, for inclusion in student handbooks, for dissemination to students in grades 8-12, and must update this information annually.

    Each school serving students in grades 8-11 must annually conduct at least one lottery scholarship day for students and parents before students register for classes. During lottery scholarship day, eligibility requirements for lottery scholarships must be discussed with students and their parents, and the TSAC information in (1)-(4) above must be given to students and parents. Each school must also "provide community-specific information to students and their parents regarding opportunities for tutoring and test-taking skills development in subjects covered by the ACT and SAT examinations, after-school educational enrichment programs, the academic value of enrollment and success in college preparatory and advanced placement courses in high school, and the importance of early providence and planning for future college participation." On lottery scholarship day, schools must inform students and their parents of the importance of passing the state exit exams (Gateway tests), "and the consequences of failure to pass the tests with respect to further educational opportunities." Parents of students in grades 8-11 must "acknowledge that they have received the information concerning lottery scholarships [that schools must provide] when they sign students' course schedules for the following school year."

    All high schools must additionally provide workshops on completing college admissions and financial aid applications for students in grades 10-12 and their parents. Such "workshops may be conducted in conjunction with the school's lottery scholarship day."

    Each district is required to annually report "to the department of education when each school's lottery scholarship day was conducted, the number of students participating, the percentage of students participating in each grade, and the activities that occurred during that day. LEAs shall also report when each school conducted college admissions workshops, the number of students participating, the percentage of students participating in each grade and the activities that occurred at such workshops." The department is required to compile and evaluate this data, and submit an annual report on lottery scholarship days and college admission workshops to the house and senate education committees.
    Texas Every school district must notify middle and high school students and their parents of sources of information on higher education admissions and financial aid, and the need to make informed curriculum choices to be prepared for success after high school. Each student's transcript or diploma must also indicate by end the of the student's junior year whether the student is on track to complete or has completed the recommended or advanced high school curriculum.

    In addition, each counselor at an elementary, middle or junior high school must advise students and their parents on "the importance of higher education, coursework designed to prepare students for higher education, and financial aid availability and requirements." During each student's freshman and senior years of high school, the counselor must provide students and their parents on
    (1) The importance of higher education
    (2) The advantages of completing the recommended or advanced high school program
    (3) The disadvantages of completing a high school equivalency exam relative to the benefits of completing a high school diploma
    (4) Financial aid eligibility
    (5) Instruction on how to apply for federal financial aid
    (6) The center for financial aid information established by statute
    (7) The automatic admission of certain students to general academic teaching institutions
    (8) The eligibility and academic performance requirements for the TEXAS Grant.

    Lastly, a public-private partnership with the College for All Texans Campaign is making available "GO Centers," which may be based on high school campuses (or middle school or postsecondary campuses); "satellite" centers based at local workforce centers, public libraries or community centers; or mobile GO centers, a fleet of vans based out of four Texas colleges. All centers provide students with resources to learn more about postsecondary options, admissions criteria, and guidance in completing admissions and financial aid applications. GO Centers are encouraged to host financial aid nights in February, to help students and their parents complete the FAFSA.
    Washington Each high school must provide all students and students' parents with a copy of the applicable high school graduation requirements and a progress report at the close of each school year. If a student is not making normal progress toward meeting the requirements, the high school must notify the student and parents of alternative education experiences, including summer school opportunities available in the community.
    West Virginia The state colleges and universities with the K-12 schools must conduct college awareness programs that reach students from the elementary grades through high school. The programs provide opportunities to visit the college, meet faculty, and learn the importance of motivation and achieving academic excellence. Students in the eighth grade are encouraged to take the academic core courses during their high school years.

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