'College Possible' Program Gives Hope to Low-Income Students
Right now, high school seniors are immersed in college applications. Every year, the costs and competition grow. Those challenges are even greater for low-income students, but thanks to a program called "College Possible" there is hope.
The program started in Minnesota in 2000. This year College Possible is helping 12,000 students in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska, the highest number of students since the program began.
College coaches help juniors and seniors navigate financial aid forms and college essays. They also help students improve grades and standardized test scores.
"Higher grades means more money, more free money," said Laura Stittsworth, College Possible Coach at Central High School in St. Paul. "Grants and scholarships are determined on, financial need, but mostly on merit."
Dua Saleh is a senior at Central High School in St. Paul. She moved to the United States from war-torn Sudan when she was 5 years old.
"We were kind of forced to move here because we were displaced, and a lot of people were dying around us," Saleh said.
Saleh's father moved back to Sudan and her mother has become her inspiration.
"My mom doesn't care how I get to college, she just wants me to get to college," Saleh said.
Thanks to Stittsworth, Saleh's College Possible coach, a college education is more than a dream. Saleh spends four hours a week with the program and has pushed her ACT score from 18 to 23.
Saleh dreams of returning to Sudan and motivating young people like her.
"Working towards helping children of Sudan gain a higher means of education, that's something that I would really love to do," Saleh said.
In 2011-2012, 98 percent of the seniors in the program were admitted to college.