Thanks to a five-year, $1.12 million grant from the US Dept. of Education, community members who qualify in St. Louis, Douglas and Carleton Counties will have free access to services designed to help them reach a better life through college training and education.
The U.S. Department of Education has announced the award of $48 million in grants to 143 colleges and organizations in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico under the Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program – all aimed at promoting college readiness for more than 196,000 adults. Lake Superior College is the only college in northern Minnesota to receive this funding and is the only institution in the seven-state region to receive federal funding to establish new Educational Opportunity Centers.
Regional EOC services are anticipated to be available, starting November 2016. “Recent workforce projections estimate that nearly 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require education and training beyond high school,” said LSC President Patrick Johns. “We hope to serve approximately 1,000 individuals with this grant by providing services and guidance to help them access college education and job training resources.”
The grants will provide readily accessible college guidance to adults who may not otherwise quickly decipher the steps needed for college admissions and continued success through graduation. Individuals must be 19 years old or older, a U. S. citizen, meet income requirements and be a resident of St. Louis, Carleton or Douglas Counties.
Participants will be connected to tutors, mentors and counselors for guidance on admission, financial aid and postsecondary course selection. For those who may not have finished high school, help will be offered on secondary school re-entry or high school equivalency exam programs – or other alternative education programs to complete a high school equivalency.
Educational Opportunity Centers also provide services to students traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, including students with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and other disadvantaged individuals, such as those who may be homeless, or exiting foster care.. The EOCs also serve veterans, military families, formerly incarcerated, and single parent families.
Services provided include: College searches, career choices, financial literacy workshops, understanding financial aid, assistance with FAFSA (Federal and State Financial Aid) applications, loan rehabilitation support, admissions, advising and more.
The director of the EOC will be based at Lake Superior College and will coordinate all activities. LSC will employ additional Educational Opportunity Center personnel to be located in the Virginia and Duluth Workforce Centers.