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The Rising Scholars Program aims to:
Regional students face many barriers, including generational poverty, lack of role models, and insufficient academic preparation. This is clearly evident at the Kent State regional campuses, where 81 percent of students receive financial aid, much of it Pell Grants, and the majority of students require remediation.
The need to prepare a skilled, professional workforce to ensure the prosperity of Geauga and Summit County could not be greater. The Kent State University Geauga and Regional Academic Center Rising Scholars Program is designed to increase the number of students who continue their education beyond high school, are college ready and enter the workforce with skills that will enhance the economic growth of the region.
The primary focus of the Rising Scholars Program is to support the success of a select group of students who have promising academic ability but are not performing up to their potential. These students, the Rising Scholars, are identified by the school district at the end of sixth grade. Once admitted to the program, they will participate in all of the following through high school graduation:
Students are supervised and guided through these experiences over a six-year period until they enroll in postsecondary education. If the Rising Scholar participates in the program and elects to attend college, he or she becomes eligible for a sponsored scholarship that will cover the cost of tuition at Kent State Geauga. Following the pay-it-back model, to be eligible for the tuition scholarships, Rising Scholars must have participated in the entire program, maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA, and agreed to serve as a university student mentor for new scholars entering the program.
Participation in the highly successful College Credit Plus (CCP) program, where students can earn college credit while still in high school, is also encouraged. Several national studies have found that students who earn six or more college credits in high school are more likely to graduate college.
A key strength of the Rising Scholars Program is the commitment to leveraging existing local resources like transportation programs, college faculty volunteers, student mentors and a motivated advisory group of leaders in business.
The Rising Scholars Program will work with seventh-grade students in the Geauga and Summit County school districts and sponsor scholarships for college mentors. As the program expands, we hope to reach all school districts in Geauga and Summit Counties. They will include comprehensive support for Rising Scholars from middle and high schools. Additionally, the program requires local funding to support scholarships for university student mentors, the single largest budget item, as well as programming and administrative costs.
The primary measures of success for the Rising Scholars Program are:
The Kent State Geauga Rising Scholars Program can become a model for increasing the number of rural, low-income students who pursue higher education and graduate from college.