Education For All: Kent State University Faculty Member Receives Education Opportunity Centers Grant
Whether or not to pursue higher education after high school is one of the first big decisions young people get to make. Unfortunately, however, financial stipulations and other outside factors may inhibit one’s ability to access postsecondary education.
Sonya Williams, Executive Director of the University Outreach and Engagement was recently awarded an Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to initiate a support program committed to providing adults interested in higher education with reliable information and sources regarding the college admissions process.
“It is important that people know their options,” said Williams. “Whether it be federal aid, payment plans, loans or grants, there are ways to go about receiving a higher education, as long as you have the right people to guide you. The need for transparent and direct communication is paramount while making these kinds of decisions.”
Partnering with outside financial establishments, local non-profits and Kent State affiliated organizations, the cross-disciplinary services will work to improve community-wide access to educational resources.
The grant targets areas notably impacted by high levels of poverty and lack of educational attainment including the Metropolitan areas of Akron, Ashtabula, Canton, Kent, New Philadelphia, Salem and Warren. These areas face poverty rates that are more than double the national average.
“The area we are supporting is very much in need of educational assistance,” Williams said. “It is anticipated that by the year 2024, occupations that require a bachelor’s degree will increase by over eight percent.”
Along with the application counseling, this EOC grant will fund extended services that will educate qualified adults on federal aid options and financial planning skills.