TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida State University announced Wednesday that they have received a $1.3 million federal grant to improve high school graduation and college enrollment rates.
FSU's Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement and FSU Panama City will launch a pre-college program with funding from the five-year Talent Search grant, part of the Federal TRIO Programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
“This project is an exciting opportunity for FSU to integrate resources to expand learning opportunities for students in local schools while also developing a stronger college pipeline for students who would be the first in their family to attend college,” said Inika Pierre Williams, director of pre-collegiate programs and the project’s director.
Williams also added that the program will help keep high school students motivated.
"The most important thing is to normalize the experience of going to college," said Inika Williams. "And so we find a lot of our students in our communities, they want to go starting at ninth grade, and we see those rates decline as years go on. And so we bring them on campus once a month to experience programming, but most excitingly they get to spend two weeks on campus as a college student."
The project will help support ongoing efforts to achieve educational equity for 500 students in Bay (Bay County High School and Rutherford High School), Franklin (Franklin County High School), Holmes (Holmes County High School) and Leon counties (Amos P. Godby High School, Griffin Middle School and R. Frank Nims Middle School).
Families who reside in the target communities experience higher than average rates of food and housing insecurity, and COVID-19 has intensified these issues, according to FSU.
The on campus experiences begin two weeks after primary school ends.
Some areas are in “Promise Zones,” a declaration by the Housing and Urban Development for ZIP codes in high-poverty communities in need of economic relief and revitalization.
The project will offer in-school support, after-school mentoring and tutoring, college coaching, ACT and SAT prep services, and college tours.
Students will be invited to the FSU Tallahassee and Panama City campuses once a month to participate in a coding camp in the fall and a leadership program in the spring. The project will also include a series of residential and day camps for six weeks in the summer.
To be eligible for enrollment, students must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, a potential first-generation college student and/or a low-income individual with a need for academic support.
What are Title I Schools?
The U.S. Department of Education defines a Title I school as the following:
Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies for children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.