YMCA of the USA to Expand College Access Program for Underserved Populations
CHICAGO, April 29, 2009 — YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the resource office for the nation's 2,686 YMCAs, has announced an important addition to the programming and services YMCAs provide to connect underserved youth to higher education opportunities. With a grant of more than $5 million over three years from Lumina Foundation for Education, Y-USA is integrating College Goal Sunday into national YMCA programming. College Goal Sunday is a national, volunteer-driven program that assists students and families in applying for financial aid.
"Research has shown that both the high cost of college and the complexity of the application process serve as real barriers to college attendance for many low-income families and students," said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina Foundation. "College Goal Sunday and its vast network of volunteers take the mystery out of the financial aid application process and helps students with the greatest need understand that a college education is achievable."
The overarching goal of the College Goal Sunday program is to assist students from low-income, underserved and non-traditional backgrounds to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid forms, so that these individuals can increase their chances of enrolling in college.
At College Goal Sunday events, typically held within two weeks of the Super Bowl, families are educated about the federal aid process and receive individual assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). College Goal Sunday began in 1989 and currently reaches more 35,000 prospective college students in 37 states and the District of Columbia
Ultimately, the YMCA of the USA's management - and the program's expansion - will allow for more students in more cities and states to receive the assistance they need to complete financial aid applications. Through the nation's 2,686 YMCAs, a larger number of students, particularly from low-income and underserved backgrounds, will have the opportunity to access and achieve success in post-secondary education.