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Woodson Unveils College Access Plan

In file photo, Chancellor Woodson talks with students on the Brickyard. Woodson traveled to Washington on Air Force One this week for a White House meeting on making college affordable for low-income students.

At a White House gathering of leaders in higher education on Thursday, Chancellor Randy Woodson unveiled the university’s plan to help low-income students enroll and succeed in college. The plan, dubbed the College Pipeline Initiative, consists of three major commitments: increasing the presence of high school advisers; bridging the performance gap in ACT and SAT scores; and improving four- and six-year graduation rates.

“Higher education is a pathway to success and we’ve made it part of our mission at NC State to help open access to capable students in North Carolina,” Woodson said. “That’s why we’re doubling down on our efforts to work with students who might otherwise think college is out of reach.”

View a video of President Obama addressing education leaders at the event via the White House website.

To “open” the pipeline, NC State will partner with the College Advising Corps to scale up efforts to match low-income students with colleges that best meet their needs. Recent graduates will be assigned to work with high schools in underserved communities, help those students understand their options, encourage their success, and assist in the application process for both admission and financial aid. The effort is supported by a three-year, $10 million grant from the John M. Belk Endowment to demonstrate that this successful program can be scaled up for a broad and far-reaching impact.

Students in rural and underserved communities are often frustrated by their inability to successfully compete for college admission. The ASPIRE (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) program is designed to bridge the gap in rural high schools’ performance on the ACT. This initiative from NC State and the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service has shown that test scores can be dramatically increased through focused support and meaningful mentorship.

NC State is committed to not only helping these students achieve admission, but also to ensuring their success once they arrive. The university has established living and learning villages, expanded experiential learning opportunities, and increased advisors’ involvement with low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to improve their four- and six-year graduation rates.

These new initiatives will enhance the programs that NC State already has in place to serve low-income and at-risk student populations, such as:

  • Pack Promise, which meets 100 percent of the financial need for qualifying students;
  • Summer START, which offers students the opportunity to complete up to eight credit hours of summer courses and prepares them for the rigors of college life;
  • Raleigh College and Community Collaborative, which works to provide mentoring and educational support to low-income students in districts with low college attendance rates;
  • The Talent Search program that provides hands-on counseling to thousands of middle and high school students in N.C.;
  • NC State’s continued commitment to affordability – the university is frequently cited as one of the most affordable public universities in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report and other well-known ranking agencies.

Responses (3 Comments)

  • JB Valentine

    This is wonderful. As a NCSU doctoral student, my dissertation interest is aligned with this program and the challenges that low-income and underrepresented student face attempting to enroll in and receive higher education.

    I am proud to be part of the NCSU family that supports this population of students and is working to create and execute programs that will serve them.

  • As the Executive Director of TRIO Programs at NCSU, I would like to provide the following information regarding bullet point number 4 in this article. TRIO Programs have been on this campus for close to 40 years providing college access to low-income first generation students. Talent Search is one of four programs and is the second TRIO Program implemented on campus, Upward Bound was the first in 1978. Our institution is fortunate to have a seamless pipeline of TRIO Programs.
    A more correct representation of this statement would read.

    North Carolina State University has also been praised for our efforts at implementing Federal TRIO programs, including the Talent Search, Upward Bound and Student Support Services programs that provide a continuum of hands on counseling and academic support to thousands of students in the State from middle school through college completion.

    More points of information.
    • TRIO Programs increased its service population by 1080 as it marked 35 years (2013) of promoting academic success on the campus of NC State University.

    • NCSU TRIO Pre-college Programs used innovation through technology to assist students in engaging in a rigorous secondary curriculum. The thrust of the rigorous curriculum exposure is to produce more creative and critical thinkers among the secondary students for successful completion of the high school common core requirements and to produce higher order thinking entering college freshmen.

    • TRIO Pre-college Programs – Over the previous 10 years, Upward Bound successfully enrolled 96% of the participants in a postsecondary institution while Talent Search (a less intrusive program) enrolled 80%. This exceeded the college-going rate of adults in the target communities by 86% and 66% respectively and the national average by 27% and 19%.

    • TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program – SSS strives to encourage and enhance educational opportunities for NCSU undergraduate students by providing academic and personal support to strengthen academic skills, increase retention and graduation rates, and as appropriate, facilitate entrance into graduate and professional programs. On average, 95% of Student Support Services participants remain in good academic standing, while 97% of participants persist at the end of each academic year. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of participants have graduated in less than six years.

    Feel free to contact me at 919-515-4577

  • AnnaH

    I totally agree that there needs to be more done for students who cant necessarily afford to apply for college/testing fees such as the SAT/ACT etc. However I do not agree that anyone should be given a full ride such as Pack Promise just because they are financially disadvantaged. I feel as if I am expected to take almost $80,000 worth of loans then they can rightfully do the same. At the conclusion of our degree we will both have jobs of which we can pay these loans off. My parents financial “capability” is not a reflection on if i myself am in need of financial assistance. My parents must also support themselves and my siblings and don’t exactly have $10,000 a semester lying around under there pillows. It would be interesting to see how much these students give back once they have graduated and established themselves. At what point is it the individuals responsibility to better themselves without handouts?

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