College Navigators and Scholarships Help Boost Postsecondary Learning at Cochise College
Sierra Vista, AZ | Submitted by Sharrina Cook-General
In Cochise County, only about half of high school graduates continue on to postsecondary learning after their senior year. However, most jobs in today’s economy require a college degree or other type of certificate. The Arizona Education Progress Meter aims to boost that figure to 70 percent by the year 2030. Thankfully, the team at Cochise College has created programs to encourage students to continue their postsecondary education.
High school seniors in the county are more interested than ever in attending Cochise College. The level of interest among seniors is partly due to a guaranteed, renewable scholarship for graduates. Additionally, college navigators are embedded in local high schools, directing students to future educational opportunities.
In fall 2018, nearly 450 students signed up for the Graduating Senior Scholarship Guarantee. As the spring decision-making period for high school seniors progress, even more students will plan to enroll full-time at Cochise for fall 2019. This will put to good use proceeds earned at the Cochise College Foundation’s Evening at the Races event.
After only a year, the scholarship program has seen substantial growth. It is funded by the Foundation’s annual fundraising event, and other gifts. In the last year alone, students earned $193,250 toward continuing their postsecondary education. The availability of those funds is even helping more students to attend school full-time. One recipient said that, “Scholarships are highly appreciated because, without extra help, I wouldn’t be able to go down the path of bettering my education and fulfilling my dreams.”
Beyond helping students to pay for their postsecondary education, Cochise College is also helping them to find their way to whatever post-high school path is right for them. The college has placed three college navigators in 18 county high schools to help alleviate the stress of Arizona’s high student/counselor ratio. These navigators work with students to identify the right path, whether that be college, military, professional training or something else. They also help students figure out the best way to get there.
In the last school year, navigators provided a whopping 27 custom workshops, 488 hours of assistance and 2,421 interactions with Cochise County high school students, faculty and staff.
The two programs combined are sure to increase the percentage of Cochise County high school seniors enrolling in postsecondary and training programs. The goal is to create long-term success and economic health in the county.