2013 Symposium: College Access


On June 10, more than 300 community members, practitioners and educators gathered at the Wolstein Center to share information and best practices related to college access at the Second Annual Degrees by Design Best Practices Symposium.  College access is the second of three critical areas being measured  annually by the Higher Education Compact (college readiness and persistence are the other two).  The  Compact defines college access as students having the awareness, opportunity, support and financing to  select and attend a college that is the ‘right fit.’  The breadth and depth of the program the Compact Best  Practices Task Force put together on college access provided student-serving organizations with the tools  to help more students become exposed to the opportunities that are out there for them and the resources  available to help them take advantage of those opportunities.

National experts on college access framed the discussion for participants.  Featured speakers included Greg Darnieder, Advisor to the Secretary on the College Access Initiative, U.S. Department of Education, spoke about college access as a financial issue; and Dr. Tia Brown McNair, Senior Director for Student Success, Association of American Colleges and Universities, talked about what organizations can do to develop the non-cognitive skills that will allow students to access and succeed in college.

In addition to these speakers, Degrees by Design featured a lunchtime panel discussion with students who discussed their college-going experience and college access best practices from which they’ve benefited.  Additionally, participants learned about a variety of college access best practices through breakout sessions – including intrusive advising, dual-enrollment, peer mentoring and summer bridge programming, among others – that are being implemented across the Compact to improve college access for Cleveland students.

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