News & Record file

Here's some big news for higher ed in North Carolina (and elsewhere). From the N&O:

A $10 million gift aims to improve college advising at North Carolina high schools, where recent college graduates help low-income students find their way to higher education.

The gift, announced Thursday by the Charlotte-based John M. Belk Endowment, will go to the College Advising Corps, a nonprofit that hires recent college graduates to work in high schools in North Carolina and 14 other states. The advisers focus exclusively on helping high school seniors navigate the confusing process of applying for college and financial aid. They work to supplement the work of high school guidance counselors who are often overburdened.

CAC counselors are recent college graduates who are assigned to 640 high schools across the country.

In North Carolina, CAC advisers come from UNC-Chapel Hill (where the program was based for a while), N.C. State, Duke and Davidson and work in 127 high schools. The counselors work in a bunch of local schools — Dudley and Smith in Greensboro, Andrews and Central in High Point, five up in Rockingham County, two in Randolph County and three in Alamance County. (To see who works where, click the links earlier in this paragraph.)

The CAC says it'll use the money to do essentially three things: expand its efforts in North Carolina, launch a text-messaging program to communicate more effectively with parents and evaluate its own data. (Its current efforts seem to be working, if you take CAC's own data at face value.)

The college admissions process is both vague and opaque, and there aren't nearly enough high school counselors out there for all the students who need them. Anything that can take some of the mystery out of college admissions and financial aid is more than welcome.

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