A college access program at Northern Arizona University will receive funding from the College Knowing and Going initiative announced this week by the Helios Education Foundation.

Helios is making a $5.1 million investment in the college and career readiness program that supports 18 school districts throughout Arizona, many of which represent low-income, Latino student populations. The Northern Arizona College Resource Center on the NAU campus will share $1.2 million of that funding with two other regional centers over the next four years.

“The College Knowing and Going Initiative expands on the ongoing college access and success work that is done with northern Arizona high school students in Flagstaff, Lake Havasu, Round Valley and Winslow,” said Roxanne Dewyer, director of the NAU center. Dewyer said the grant makes possible “the opportunity to continue fulfilling NAU’s mission of providing all Arizonans with access and affordability to postsecondary education. NAU is proud to be part of such a significant investment for Arizona’s future.”

The NAU resource center offers one-on-one advising and workshops in high schools throughout the region and also helps students apply for scholarships.

“Our goal is to get 100 percent of students to complete a college application,” Dewyer said. “Our focus is low-income, first-generation students, but we are an open center and offer our services to all high school students.”

Increasing the number of bachelor’s degree holders in Arizona is a key metric by which the Arizona Board of Regents measure’s its three universities.

In making the announcement, Helios pointed out that only 37 percent of Arizona’s adult population has an associate degree or higher, with that number dropping in half for the Latino population. It is estimated that 68 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require a postsecondary education by 2020, yet only 19 percent of Arizona’s adult Latino population has an associate’s degree or higher.

College Knowing and Going will provide partner school districts with key infrastructure and resources including:

  • ACT administration costs and access for all juniors, making the test available at no cost to these students
  • assistance with postsecondary planning and college applications
  • assistance with completing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms