College Depot Helping Thousands Continue Their Education Beyond High School

Phoenix, AZ | Submitted by Judy Reno

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Nestled inside the Phoenix Public Library’s Burton Barr location resides thirteen staff wholly devoted to helping people achieve their dream of furthering their education. At College Depot, Arizona residents have free access to a wide array of resources, and the professional guidance that is so often needed to navigate the complex world of higher education.

Since 2009, College Depot has served close to 60,000 individuals, from middle school students to adults. They can provide guidance on everything from admissions to financial aid, and scholarships.

Created out of a need to educate students and support school counselors, College Depot uses one-on-one appointments and workshops to ensure that every student knows their options after high school, as well as how to get there. Those who prefer it can even receive guidance in Spanish.

Depending on client needs, the planning advisors and assistants at College Depot can assist students who are interested in creating a plan to help them get to college. And beyond academics, staff are knowledgeable about the financial aid, loans and scholarships that make higher education possible for so many youth. Thanks to the technology at the Phoenix Public Library, College Depot staff are able to tap into valuable resources that makes all of this possible.

For both youth and adults who have dropped out of high school, College Depot has a re-engagement program that can help them complete their high school education and then pursue continuing education.

Because many can’t access College Depot directly, the website provides background on everything from college applications to college finances and many school districts even use the College Depot scholarship page as the primary resource for their students. The site is widely utilized tool – in fact, there are four website visitors for every one person who visits College Depot in person.

The service is a perfect fit for the Phoenix Public Library system, which is principally focused on connecting people to the information they need. College Depot’s primary location is at Burton Barr near downtown Phoenix, but they have a presence at other branch locations, as well.

The results speak for themselves – in the latter half of 2016 alone, College Depot served nearly 12,000 people. Staff conducted 11 workshops, 1,200 one-on-one appointments and helped students complete 700 Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Two of every five of those they served had an annual family income of less than $21,000.

But College Depot’s impact is immeasurable to the people it serves. Their support and encouragement has helped countless people – and their impact will reach far beyond, since increasing postsecondary completion can provide a significant boost to Arizona’s economy. Currently, Arizona ranks near the bottom among all states in the percent of high school graduates who continue their education the next academic year. And only 42 percent of Arizona’s adults have a post-secondary education; not nearly enough to sustain our economy, since close to 70 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require more education or training beyond high school by 2020.

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