(Joint press release) GREEN BAY (May 26, 2021) – CollegeReady, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and academic resources for local students to pursue their education, celebrates its first-ever graduating class of NEW Scholars.
Available to students within the Green Bay Area Public School district, the NEW Scholars college readiness program was established to help underserved youth who aspire to be the first in their family to graduate from college.
These students, many of whom have been in the NEW Scholars program since the sixth grade, have now been accepted into Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, as well as other Wisconsin colleges and universities.
“This is a proud moment for CollegeReady, as our first-ever cohort of NEW Scholars achieves their dream of graduating from high school and heading off to college,” explains CollegeReady’s Executive Director, Brent Roubal. “Our first-generation students have what it takes to earn a post-secondary degree and we’re thrilled to see them reach that goal.”
Data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shows that only 40% of all economically disadvantaged students in Wisconsin high schools will pursue post-secondary education. Although 91% of graduating NEW Scholars will attend college after this school year.
“CollegeReady is an important community partner that supports the Green Bay Area Public School District in achieving its mission to educate all students to be college, career and community ready,” stated Vicki Bayer, Green Bay Area Public School District deputy superintendent. “With the additional resources and support provided to students, more GBAPS students are able to obtain their dream of attending higher education.”
On Wednesday, May 26, NWTC will host a college signing day for the Class of 2021 NEW Scholars where the students will sign their letter of acceptance to their intended college or university.
“As a long-standing partner of CollegeReady, we will continue the work that is needed to make college possible for all students,” said Dr. Jeff Rafn, NWTC president. “It is important as educators that we are preparing students with the tools they need to succeed, no matter their economic situation. Together, we will carry on our commitment to support first-generation college students.”
“UW-Green Bay supports the work of CollegeReady to create opportunities for students to further their education after high school,” says UW-Green Bay Chancellor, Michael Alexander. “We are proud to receive the 2021-22 FirstGen Forward designation by the Center for First Generation Student Success and are eager to see students have the resources needed to pursue their dreams through additional educational opportunities.”
According to a national survey through Education Week, over one-third of educators across the country said that changes to K-12 schooling during the pandemic have hit low-income students harder than any other group.
“This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students have faced overwhelming obstacles,” said Roubal. “Our staff continued to foster connections and offer academic and social-emotional support to our parents and students via virtual platforms, and ultimately helped our students stay on-track at school.”
Through academic support, college prep, parent workshops, service learning, and so much more, NEW Scholars breaks down barriers to higher education that exist for many low-income and first-generation students. In addition, participating students also earn up to a $5,000 scholarship toward their college expenses.
For more information about CollegeReady and its NEW Scholars program, visit CollegeReadyWI.org.