USF Recognized for Supporting Underserved, College-Bound Students

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 8, 2008) - In acknowledgement of its outstanding efforts to serve and support students from first-generation, low-income, and otherwise underserved backgrounds, the University of South Florida has been selected for inclusion in the inaugural College Access & Opportunity Guide, the first comprehensive college guidebook dedicated to promoting college opportunity for students traditionally underserved in higher education.

The Guide, produced by the Center for Student Opportunity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the higher education aspirations of underserved college-bound students, credits USF for its many programs that help recruit, admit and enroll students historically underrepresented in higher education. Those programs include the following:

Access USF is an on-campus program for high school students that assists students in understanding the college admissions process and financial aid opportunities.

History of Achievement and Scholastic Achievement awards recognize select students from diverse ethnic backgrounds who have achieved above-average academic records in high school while facing significant socioeconomic, educational, cultural, or personal challenges.

Project Thrust supports minority students at USF through advising and counseling tailored to fit the individual needs of students.

Freshman Summer Institute provides access to a university education for promising students from first-generation and limited-income families.

Office of Multicultural Affairs promotes a diverse and inclusive campus environment through programs, activities, workshops and resources available to USF students, faculty, staff and the Tampa Bay community.

ENLACE is a community-focused outreach program that forms a partnership between USF, local education agencies and Hispanic community organizations to support students’ educational endeavors from middle school through college.

“USF is committed to offering programs and services that support the university’s mission of academic excellence and the ethic of community responsibility,” said Ralph Wilcox, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at USF. “Inclusion in the College Access & Opportunity Guide is just one of the many ways we are working to ensure students and their families have access to relevant information they need when choosing a college that is positioned to help students realize their fullest academic potential.”

Over 225 colleges and universities nationwide are featured in the Guide, published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. They were selected for inclusion by a national independent advisory committee comprised of college presidents and chief administrators, college access and community-based organization leaders and higher education association officials. Each is profiled in light of the programs and opportunities it presents for first-generation, low-income, and minority college-bound students in three categories:

Access – Community outreach initiatives serving pre-college students with academic enrichment, mentoring, college preparation, and college guidance

Opportunity – Financial assistance (scholarships, financial aid incentives), informational (open houses, fly-in programs), and acceptance (conditional admissions) programs

Success – Academic assistance, student support services, and retention initiatives geared to help students persist to graduation

“Increasingly, colleges and universities are placing an emphasis on outreach initiatives, financial aid programs and student support services. Yet students, their families, and even counselors and community leaders are not always fully aware of the array of the college opportunity that exists for them,” said Matt Rubinoff, executive director of the Center for Student Opportunity. “The College Access & Opportunity Guide fills this void by providing students with guidance through the college process and delivering easy-to-read information on strong college programs aimed to serve students like them.”

Furthering its mission to serve first-generation, low-income and minority college-bound students, USF is sponsoring a free distribution of the College Access & Opportunity Guide to high schools and community organizations nationwide, along with other colleges and universities featured in the Guide and partner foundations and associations. The book also is available for sale through the Center for Student Opportunity’s Web site, http://csopportunity.org/, and other national booksellers.

The College Access & Opportunity Guide also includes information, articles, and stories developed in collaboration with KnowHow2GO – a national college access campaign created in partnership with the Lumina Foundation for Education, the American Council on Education, and the Ad Council – providing a plan for first-generation and other underrepresented students to take four steps necessary to go to college:

1) Be a pain – Let everyone know that you’re going to college and need their help.

2) Push yourself – Working a little harder today will make getting into college even easier.

3) Find the right fit – Find out what kind of school is the best match for you and your career goals.

4) Put your hands on some cash – If you think you can't afford college, think again. There's lots of aid out there.

“Young people in all socio-economic groups have college aspirations. But low-income students and those who are the first in their families to pursue higher education are severely underrepresented on college campuses,” said Melanie Corrigan, director of national initiatives for the American Council on Education. “KnowHow2GO and the College Access & Opportunity Guide aim to turn these students’ college dreams into action-oriented goals and offer the guidance they need to prepare for postsecondary education.”

All of the colleges and universities in the College Access & Opportunity Guide are also featured on the Center for Student Opportunity’s College Center Web site, www.CSOcollegecenter.org, an online clearinghouse of college programs and admissions information serving first-generation and historically underserved college-bound students. Students, families, and counselors can use CSO’s College Center to gain valuable insight and advice throughout the college application process, further their research on available college programs aimed to serve students like them, and register an academic profile to send to colleges and universities of interest.

About the University of South Florida: The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

About the Center for Student Opportunity: The Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting higher education opportunities for first-generation and other historically underserved college-bound students. CSO programs serve colleges and universities, counselors, and community-based organizations in support of their college access goals. More information about CSO is available at www.CSOpportunity.org.

About KnowHow2GO: KnowHow2GO is a national public service campaign designed to inform young people about the actual steps they need to take to make their college dreams a reality. The campaign includes television, radio, print, outdoor and interactive advertising. It is sponsored nationally by the American Council on Education, the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Ad Council. For more information visit KnowHow2GO.org.

About Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company: With over 50 years of experience in the publishing industry, and over 6,000 titles in print, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company offers expertise at all levels of education publishing, from kindergarten through college, and on to continuing medical and professional education. Kendall/Hunt combines author service, innovation, and a pledge of quality to provide advantages that are unparalleled in the publishing industry.

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

 – USF –

Story written by Jacqui Cash, Academic Affairs