Over 80 leaders in the St. Louis community have been working together for the past two years on the St. Louis Regional College Access Pipeline Project (CAP). CAP is a regional effort of college access service providers, educators and business leaders to better help area high school students pursue and complete a post-secondary degree. The co-chairs of the effort are Jane Donahue (Deaconess Foundation) and Faith Sandler (Scholarship Foundation).
The project team divided into three workgroups to define the main goals and strategies for increasing degree completion:
Fostering a College-Going Culture
- Provide professional development to educators and youth development professionals.
- Develop systems that ensure students participate in activites at every stage of the college-going continuum (college exposure, access, and preparation).
- Engage, inform, and support parents on the steps required to navigate from high school to college.
Coordinating Service Delivery
- Establish common definitions and outcome measures.
- Develop a region-wide searchable database on service providers and sites.
- Expand professional development for college access/success service providers focused on peer exchanges, sharing of best practices, and collaboration.
Promoting Postsecondary Persistence
- Develop longitudinal data system that tracks student outcomes.
- Convene a higher education coalition to share best practices and cross-institution collaboration.
- Develop university-sponsored and led programs that support entering students beginning in high school and continuing through postsecondary completion.
Additionally, CAP hopes to remove obstacles to accessing financial support by advocating for need based aid, especially Access Missouri and creating a regional scholarship clearing house.
CAP has already taken the first step towards achieving its goals. It has created a scholarship catalog that is currently housed on its temporary website- http://capstl.org/. The catalog was created over the past two years and updated January – March 2011 and includes scholarships that are privately funded and open to applications. At this point in time it does not include publicly funded grants and scholarships like Access Missouri and the federal Pell grant. The list will be updated regularly so if you know of a scholarship that is missing from the list please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAP understands that financial aid is a barrier many students face when considering education beyond high school and hopes that this catalog will help students identify resources to continue their education. The catalog was made possible through the support of Wells Fargo Advisors, Deaconess Foundation, Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation, and the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.
In order for this project to be success, the entire community needs to get involved in this important project. Individuals, organizations, educations, local and state government, nonprofits, and funders are needed to help move this strategy forward. The new CAP website will be available in May 2011. Until then find out how you can get involved and spread the word about the scholarship catalog.