New website encourages college enrollment in southern Colorado

(06-13-2012)

Adams State University is one of ten Southern Colorado colleges and universities participating in new website that encourages college attendance.

The site, http://www.socolo-edu.org/, shows low- and moderate-income students that they can successfully be the first in their families to pursue education after high school.

The site was produced by the Southern Colorado Higher Education Consortium (SCHEC), a collaboration of all ten public colleges and universities in southern Colorado. A highlight of the site is a video series that use student voices to demonstrate the importance these colleges place on student success.

"These videos tell the collective story of navigating through college in Southern Colorado. The students in the videos have done a fantastic job of breaking down complexity and addressing fears about going to college, " said Phillip Morris, the project coordinator. To watch the videos go to http://www.socolo-edu.org/videos.html

Adams State University President David Svaldi said, "Adams State is the ideal environment for first-generation college students, because we offer a range of student support services to help them succeed. Students also receive individual attention from faculty who focus on teaching."

Adams State has received over $12 million in Title V grants for Hispanic Serving Institutions to expand its student services, including advising, tutoring, career counseling, as well as faculty development to better engage a diverse student body.

Fueled by a $750,000 Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the SCHEC is working cooperatively to increase the number of southern Colorado residents who attend college.

The website will help families in southern Colorado connect with local colleges and understand requirements to enroll in post-secondary education. Unemployment rates are generally lower for people with education after high school, and the Bureau of Labor predicts increased demand for employees with higher levels of education.

By fall, the group hopes to offer ten new college-level courses to students enrolled in high school, a feature rare in rural districts that dominate southern Colorado. The challenge of the consortium is to offer courses that are accessible, interesting, and engaging for students who have done well in high school but might not be at the top of the class. The goal of offering the new courses to high school students is to show them that they can succeed at the next level.

Along with the new course offerings, each campus will offer a summer campus-based program that aims to introduce students to college expectations, campus life, and academic preparation techniques.

The graphic identity for the project, SóColo Reach, uses the Spanish concept of the Zócalo, or city plaza, combined with the southern Colorado outreach effort. The colleges represented in the SóColo Reach project include Adams State University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Fort Lewis College, Lamar Community College, Otero Junior College, Pikes Peak Community College, Pueblo Community College, Trinidad State Junior College, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and Western State Colorado University.

For more information about SóColo Reach, contact Dr. Michael Mumper, Adams State University Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Program Development, 719-587-7436.

Southern Colorado Higher Education Consortium