Phuture Phoenix chosen for replication in Wisconsin

GREEN BAY — Officials at the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation like what they see in the Phuture Phoenix program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In fact, they want to see more of it.

Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation chose the Phuture Phoenix program to receive a portion of the 2009-10 Wisconsin College Access Challenge Grant to replicate the pre-college awareness program at another state college or university. The effort was announced at a press conference on campus today, Tuesday, March 24.

Jessica Doyle speaks at Phuture Phoenix press conference

Wisconsin First Lady Jessica Doyle speaks at the Phuture Phoenix press conference March 24, 2009

“This model program takes a year-round, year-in-and-year-out approach that provides students with the support they need to help them stay on track toward high school graduation and enrollment in college,” UW-Green Bay Interim Chancellor David Ward said of the Phuture Phoenix program.

A $125,000 grant will be shared between UW-Green Bay and another Wisconsin college or university to duplicate the success of Phuture Phoenix, including the promotion of academic achievement and the program’s mission to help every child pursue higher education.

Phuture Phoenix began in 2003 and has since served more than 6,100 schoolchildren from low-income elementary schools in Green Bay, West De Pere, Oneida Nation and several outlying districts. The program’s signature event is an annual tour of the UW-Green Bay campus for about 1,300 fifth-graders from elementary schools with significant poverty rates. As the children visit UW-Green Bay and experience “college,” they are encouraged to be excited about education, eventual high school graduation, and the possibilities for college, university or technical college careers. For many students, visiting a college campus is the first step toward feeling motivated to attend college.

Hundreds of UW-Green Bay students volunteer each year to serve as hosts and role models for the fifth-graders during these Phuture Phoenix Day activities. They also conduct follow-up visits to elementary schools. UW-Green Bay students provide continued contact and additional mentorship during the middle and high school years, tutoring more than 900 students annually throughout Brown County. Tutoring in schools is aimed at raising student attendance, improving academic success and increasing high school graduation rates for at-risk students.

“This exciting opportunity to replicate our pre-college program on another Wisconsin campus strengthens our ability to reach more students and send the message that a college degree is possible,” said Phuture Phoenix Director Kim Desotell. “We know that a college degree improves overall success and doubles average income. This grant assists to leverage our Phuture Phoenix mission throughout Wisconsin and make college admission a reality for low income students that may never have been encouraged to think about higher education.”

Officials at Great Lakes saw a need for more programs that inspire the state’s youth to purse a college degree.
“We are excited about this partnership and are confident that replication of the Phuture Phoenix program will be of great benefit to the students of Wisconsin,” said Maria Bundy, director of College Access Advising for Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.

Phuture Phoenix was invited to compete for the grant with top pre-college programs throughout the state. The initiative’s goal is to add to statewide efforts to help every child achieve a higher education in Wisconsin.

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View photos of the press conference.

About Phuture Phoenix

The Phuture Phoenix program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay aims to increase the odds that at-risk students will graduate from high school and also pursue higher education. Phuture Phoenix involves bringing area fifth-graders from Title I elementary schools from throughout Northeastern Wisconsin to spend a day on campus as a means to envision themselves as college students. Phuture Phoenix mentors—UW-Green Bay student volunteers—continue contact with many of these students in Phase II of the program. The mentors work closely with students in grades 6-12, tutoring and mentoring them in local schools within Brown County schools. Since its inception in 2002, Phuture Phoenix has connected with more than 6,100 students, encouraging them to do well in school and dream of a future they may not have considered by moving on to higher education. The program was designed because Northeast Wisconsin has a lower percentage of students in the state graduating high school and going on to higher education.

About Great Lakes

Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates works with schools, lenders, and community organizations to change lives for the better through higher education. Great Lakes supports these partners with financial, educational and operational resources that help students and families pay for college and build bright futures. As a leading guarantor, originator and servicer of student loans for over forty years, Great Lakes serves more than 2,700 schools and 1,400 lenders across the nation. One of the nation’s largest integrated providers of student loan services, Great Lakes services student loans for more than two million borrowers and holds guarantees on more than $43 billion in FFELP loans. Great Lakes serves as the designated guarantor for Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the Higher Education Act. Great Lakes is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, with operating centers in Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

News release from First Lady Jessica Doyle’s office

Green Bay Press-Gazette—’Phuture Phoenix model for state colleges

WBAY—’Phuture Phoenix program takes flight