ACCESS College Foundation

The mission of ACCESS is to provide students, who may not have the opportunity, the path to attend and complete college.

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The ACCESS Program inspires the hope in low-income, underrepresented students that a college education is attainable, supports them in achieving the requirements for college acceptance, guides them through the college application process, assists them in gaining the funds to attend college, and provides advising and scholarship support while enrolled in college to ensure that they remain in school and complete their degree programs. ACCESS is a privately funded, non-profit organization that is committed to providing college access and success services FREE OF CHARGE to local students and their families. ACCESS is distinguished by being the ONLY provider of school-based college access/success services in every public high school in South Hampton Roads and Northampton County, VA as well as on 13 Virginia university/college campuses, positioning us in a way of benefiting local families like no other organization in the region.

Through the placement of advisors in 26 high-need public middle schools, 30 public high schools, and on 13 Virginia university/college campuses (Christopher Newport University, George Mason University, Hampton University, Longwood University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, Virginia Wesleyan College, and the four campuses of Tidewater Community College) ACCESS accomplishes the following:

• The ACCESS Early College Awareness Program succeeds in giving more than 11,000 7th and 8th graders a head start in understanding the necessary steps involved in attaining a postsecondary degree by providing workshops and advising sessions on topics that include but are not limited to future goals, career choices, educational opportunities after high school, financial aid literacy, and how to connect education to career. Student and parent participation in early college awareness activities foster a better understanding of the value, steps, and resources available in attaining a postsecondary education.

• More than 10,000 9th and 10th graders are assisted with developing a personal educational plan to keep them on track for high school graduation, while increasing their knowledge and aspirations for pursuing education after high school through the ACCESS 9th and 10th Grade Program. This program provides workshops for students, introducing them to "The Four A's" to accessing a path to college. Explicitly, the importance of: maintaining good Attendance, discovering one's Attitude towards life, Academic excellence, and propelling postsecondary educational planning into Action.

• The ACCESS High School College Access Program increases the number of students who enroll in postsecondary institutions by guiding 11th and 12th grade students through the complicated college application/admission pipeline. ACCESS provides college information to more than 12,000 11th and 12th graders and assists nearly 3,500 of these 12th graders with college admission applications and filing for financial aid and scholarships, which results in our students receiving $43 million in financial aid and scholarships each year. To bridge the gap between the amount of financial aid received and the actual cost of attending college, our foundation awards $800,000 in ACCESS "Last-Dollar" Scholarships to students.

• ACCESS Scholars participating in the ACCESS College Success Program benefit from the provision of support services through one-on-one and group counseling sessions with one of our advisors for academic, adjustment, financial, and personal issues. The College Success Program promotes the successful progression and completion of postsecondary education and has helped our scholars achieve an overall retention and graduation rate of 90%, which is significantly higher than the current national 6-year average of 59%.

• Through the Career Connection Program, ACCESS Scholars in their junior and senior year of college are afforded internship opportunities, receive weekly emails with career advise and participate in Career Workshops. This program also assists ACCESS college graduates in finding a career in Hampton Roads following graduation.