U.Va. guide program funds will continue

May 4, 2011

Martinsville Bulletin

The Harvest Foundation has awarded $255,281 to the University of Virginia Guide Program over the next two years to help college-bound high school students through the application and financial aid process.

Under the program, recent University of Virginia graduates work with high school guidance departments as they assist students in choosing which college to attend and then wade through the financial application process.

One guide works at each of the area high schools — Bassett and Magna Vista and Martinsville — throughout the school year, according to Angela Logan, program officer-education for Harvest.

The goal of the program is “to get them (high school students) into college,” she said. That could be the University of Virginia or any other college or university, she added.

The guides make a two-year commitment to the program and return to the University of Virginia for training during the summers, she said.

“The work of the guides is immeasurable,” Logan said. “These ‘near peer’ alumni from U.Va. work tirelessly to help our young people navigate the college admissions and financial aid process, and their work is going to continue to be critical in the years ahead.”

As the community aims to be more economically competitive with surrounding areas, the need for post-secondary education is becoming ever apparent, Harvest’s release states. With the U.Va. Guide Program, local students are one step closer to meeting the task, it added.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse and the Virginia Department of Education, since the program was implemented in the local schools in 2006, the number of county and city students enrolling in college has increased. Also, the amount of financial aid these students have received has increased as well.

For the 2009-2010 academic year, the guides worked with students to complete 179 financial aid forms, with a total of more than $1,504,131 in financial aid received, according to information from Logan. For the same time period, they held 55 workshops, and nearly 1,000 students and parents attended, she added.

The guides are reaching these benchmarks by offering SAT prep and financial aid workshops, as well as holding one-on-one counseling sessions with local students, the release states.

“The College Guide Program thanks the board and staff of the Harvest Foundation for its continued support,” said Keith Roots, director of the College Guide Program. “We look forward to working together in an effort to increase the number of students from Henry County and Martinsville entering college over the next two years. It has been a great partnership over the last five years, but we know that our work has just begun.”

The Harvest Foundation was established in 2002 from the sale of the Memorial Hospital in Martinsville. It invests those funds and uses the proceeds on local health, education and community vitality initiatives.


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