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Pennsylvania State Senate
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20150&cosponId=16108
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 19, 2014 04:16 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: PA Pathways to College Act
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce a bill that would create a grant program in Pennsylvania with the goal of increasing accessibility to college counseling resources for students in high-need high schools. My legislation will be called the Pennsylvania Pathways to College Act and is based on the Federal Pathways to College Act.

Specifically, the legislation will provide $25 million in grants over four years to eligible school districts with high-need high schools to enable additional counselors and resources be made available for college preparation, as well as training and education for students, parents and faculty aimed at creating a culture of college preparedness within these schools. High-need high schools would be defined as having not less than 50% of enrolled students that are eligible for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Act, being counted under section 1124(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or eligible for public assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Eligible school entities would be defined as a school district or area vocational-technical school in which a majority of the high schools served are high-need high schools.

Grants would be competitively awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Education and distributed among eligible school entities in various geographical regions and serve both urban and rural districts. The grant application will require a detailed description of the program to increase accessibility to college preparation resources within the school, including: the high school population to be targeted by the program and resources available for meeting those needs; an outline of goals and objectives for meeting an increased number of college application submissions by students; the training, services and support structures for faculty and students; program outcome and effectiveness evaluation metrics; a plan for sustainability over time, including use of matching funds from Federal and local sources, as well as other metrics.

The goal of the grant program is to increase the number of low-income students who enroll in postsecondary educational institutions and to help them understand the cost of college. Grants are to be used to supplement rather than supplant existing school funding. Funds may be used to create postsecondary planning classes, increase school counselors who specialize in college preparation, train student leaders to help create a college-going culture in their schools, and create curriculum and access centers in the school setting for information on colleges and universities, career opportunities and financial aid options.

Annual reports of the programs will be required to be submitted to PDE by each eligible school entity receiving a grant. The department will conduct independent evaluations of each program and report its findings to the Majority and Minority Chairmen of the Senate and House Education Committees.

This bill is part of the multi-faceted College Access Plan (CAP). CAP is a comprehensive package of legislation designed to improve student access to higher education, reduce student debt and jump-start Pennsylvania's economy.



Introduced as SB111