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November 10, 2003 :: State Regents Receive $75,000 Grant to Create Preparing for College Materials for Hispanics

Media Contacts: Amy Bruce
Office: 1.405.225.9281
abruce@osrhe.edu
Dave Powell
317.951.5493
dpowell@luminafoundation.org

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have received a $75,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education to create public engagement materials that help Hispanic students and their parents understand how to better prepare for college. Specifically, a Web site and other materials for Spanish-speaking parents and students will be produced that provide information on the value of a college education, college costs, financial aid, entrance requirements and what kind of classes to take. The educational materials will be shared through Hispanic civic organizations, K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

In addition, materials and Web pages will be generated that will help educate K-12 counselors and administrators, as well as college academic advisors, on the issues that can prevent Hispanics from taking advantage of a college education.

“The Hispanic community in Oklahoma is a vital part of our future,” said Chancellor Paul Risser. “Contributions made by Hispanic Oklahomans to our culture, our workforce and our communities help make Oklahoma the wonderful place it is to work, live and raise our families. This grant will help provide targeted college prep information to a segment of our population that cannot be overlooked if we are to achieve our goal of a vibrant economy by increasing Oklahoma’s college-educated workforce to 28 percent by 2010.”

The grant efforts are intended to expand the existing public engagement efforts initiated by Oklahoma GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).

GEAR UP is a federal program, administered by the State Regents, designed to help middle and high school students better prepare for college. In August 1999, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma a five-year grant totaling $20.5 million to implement GEAR UP activities across the state, including college preparation activities, scholarship opportunities and public awareness programs for students and parents.

Currently, Oklahoma GEAR UP provides educational materials to fifth- through seventh-grade students on the importance of planning early for college and guides for parents of ninth- through 12th-grade students that contain information on the role parents play in their child’s college preparation, the economic benefits of obtaining a college degree, course requirements, admission standards, college costs and financial aid. In addition, Oklahoma GEAR UP has a public engagement campaign each spring on the importance of early planning for college that encourages the public to call or e-mail the State Regents for more information. This effort provides much needed information at a time when students are enrolling for the upcoming fall semester.

This grant was awarded as part of Lumina Foundation’s McCabe Fund. The McCabe Fund supports organizations that enable students — particularly first-generation college students — to broaden and make the most of their opportunities in postsecondary education.

The McCabe Fund provides modest, competitive grants for programs that work directly with students to improve access to postsecondary education. These programs expand successful models or propose new approaches that are ready to be tested in the field. Grant proposals were requested from a select group of organizations from across the country. The McCabe Fund grant program has awarded grants totaling $2 million between October 2002 and March 2003.

“We are optimistic that these grassroots initiatives supported by the McCabe Fund will help reduce the nation’s college attainment gap by assisting organizations, such as the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, that help students achieve their potential by expanding access to an education beyond high school,” said Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation.

About GEAR UP
Oklahoma’s statewide GEAR UP grant has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based, private, independent foundation, strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access and success in education beyond high school. Through research, grants for innovative programs and communication initiatives, Lumina Foundation addresses issues surrounding financial access and educational retention and degree or certificate attainment — particularly among underserved student groups, including adult learners. The Foundation bases its mission on the belief that postsecondary education remains one of the most beneficial investments that individuals can make in themselves and that society can make in its people. For more details on the Foundation, visit its Web site at www.luminafoundation.org.