Kent State to Help Akron Students Earn College Credit Without Leaving High School


Reading, writing and arithmetic are getting a college-styled makeover in two Akron, Ohio, high schools.

Through a $480,000 grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, the partnership called College Today will send Kent State University instructors into Ellet High School and Firestone High School to teach college-level English and math.

The initiative is collaboration between Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, College of Arts and Sciences and Akron Public Schools.

The partnership targets at-risk students who might not otherwise meet the academic requirements to enroll in first-year basic college English and math classes. These students can include traditionally underrepresented populations, such as low-income students, students of color and first-generation students. Typically, the students either do not get accepted into college or are required in their first year to take remedial classes in which they do not receive college credit. 

“The exciting feature of this project is that we’ll be delivering college-level instruction to high school juniors on a daily basis,” said William Kist, Ph.D., Kent State’s principal investigator of the grant who serves as an associate professor in Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services. “But this instruction will be designed and delivered in ways that meet their individual needs.”

The program also will provide a year-round support system to guide the students including tutoring, mentoring, shadowing, review and practice sessions, summer camps, and one-on-one and small group interventions. 

“At the end of the junior year, all students will have the chance to take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP),” Kist said. “If successful, they will receive college credit for the first English and math course upon entry into college.” 

This will be repeated at the end of the senior year and, depending on the student’s CLEP scores, might enter college having completed all first-year English and math requirements. Students who have not successfully passed the CLEP test will repeat the coursework and receive additional tutoring to prepare them for the next round of CLEP testing.

College Today will recruit students starting in May 2015 based on EXPLORE test results in reading, English and math, GPA, recommendations and course work.

Great Lakes has been making education a reality since 1967. Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in post-secondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, Great Lakes has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to nearly 9 million borrowers – as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Its earnings support one of the largest and most respected educational philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, Great Lakes has committed nearly $130 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low income students, and first-generation students. For additional information visit

For more information about Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, visit

For more information about Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit


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Media Contacts:
William Kist,, 330-864-2455
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 4:16pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:53pm
Kristin Anderson