Text-based program helps encourage college access

college-accessThe College Foundation of West Virginia will soon expand a text message-based assistance program that promotes college access and student support by offering the service to high school seniors and adult learners across the state.

Funded by a $225,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation, the program provides personalized information students need to complete college-preparation tasks, such as meeting important financial aid deadlines during their senior year of high school. Messages also connect students with college counselors who can answer questions about life after high school.

The program started as a pilot project in 2014 with about 1,000 high school seniors. The service is now used by about 7,000 high schoolers and college freshmen.

“We’re going statewide,” said Jessica Kennedy, director of communications and outreach for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Beginning this week, higher-education officials will promote the service further with hopes of increasing the number of students receiving messages. Kennedy said the commission would like to reach 9,000 students.

The service is voluntary, meaning students opt to have messages sent to them.

Next page: How the program can expand college access to prospective students

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