(Tahlequah, Okla.)--Being the first person in one’s family to attend college can be daunting. There are new experiences such as applying for financial aid and scholarships, ACT preparation and career exploration.
Thanks to funding recently secured for Educational Talent Search programs at Northeastern State University, up to 1,000 lower income first generation students will receive assistance in helping prepare for this transition.
ETS provides college and career counseling and helps students recognize their strengths through educational, cultural and adventure activities. ETS is a federally funded TRIO service through the U.S. Department of Education.
“This is an exciting time for ETS at Northeastern,” said Diane Walker, program director. “The schools that will be served by the new Broken Arrow program are happy to be able to work with us. They have students who need these services, so this will be a very productive collaboration.”
ETS is available on both the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses. The Tahlequah ETS program serves students at Chouteau, Coweta, Hilldale, Inola, Jay, Kansas, Ketchum, Keys, Wagoner and Tahlequah. The program at NSUBA will serve students at Depew, Edison, Kellyville, Mannford, Memorial, Oilton, Sand Springs and Sapulpa. Once open at Broken Arrow, the combined ETS programs will assist more than 1,000 students and their families in northeast Oklahoma.
The funding on the Tahlequah campus renews one of the federal TRIO services established at NSU in 2002. However, the ETS at Broken Arrow is a new program which will serve high schools farther west. The funding supports operations through August 31, 2016. Each program will receive $230,000 for the 2011-12 academic year.
“To get funding for a new program at Broken Arrow was almost miraculous,” said Walker, writer of the grant applications. “The three readers gave perfect scores to our BA proposal. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Walker said funding for the established Tahlequah operation was more easily secured, because “we have blown the roof off” all objectives and evaluations. However, she said further services and evaluation will be required by the U.S. Department of Education.
“We must track students that graduate from our program and file a six-year report on the secondary degrees they obtain, whether they be vocational, associate’s or bachelor’s degrees,” she said. “They also are requiring us to provide a financial literacy component for parents of students in ETS. We will offer workshops with instruction on planning and paying for a college education.”
Another added requirement is that a percentage of ETS students must complete a rigorous high school curriculum as defined by Oklahoma’s Promise, which pays the college tuition of students from low-income families provided the students prepare academically for college. Oklahoma’s Promise requires candidates to take four units of English, three of lab science, three of mathematics, three of history and citizenship skills, two of foreign language or computer technology, an additional unit from any of the required subjects and a unit of fine arts with at least a 2.5 overall grade-point average.
ETS organizes on-campus events for students in grades 8-12. One such event, “The College Encounter,” was held July 28 at the Tahlequah campus for new high school seniors.
The ETS staff facilitated activities and discussed topics such as financial aid and scholarships, StrengthsQuest, scholarship resumes and searches, ACT registration, Accuplacer and on-line college applications.
“StrengthsQuest helps students identify their talents and Accuplacer helps students determine which college courses they are ready to enroll in,” Walker said. “Many of these students went through our Learning and Leadership Summit after their freshman years. Some have been attending our events since middle school. The College Encounter is where we get serious about preparations for college.”
The students ended the day with a four-course dinner which included an etiquette lesson.
“Each of the seniors who attended has a wonderful opportunity to succeed during the last year of high school,” said Ryan Eller, an ETS guidance specialist. “They will be more competitive in scholarship selections and the college acceptance process.”
ETS is a federally funded TRIO service. The other TRIO program offered by NSU is Student Support Services. Since funded in 1993, the SSS program assists students in college. All TRIO programs target students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Published: 8/22/2011 3:10:11 PM