Friday, January 27, 2023

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Phoenix High Schoolers Get College-Ready with Access to Tech

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Wednesday, January 4, 2023   

The Phoenix Public Library is making navigating going to college easier for first-generation college students.

The Arizona Lottery's Give Back Program has provided $50,000 dollars to the library's GRIT Program, which stands for "Graduating Ready, Independent, and Tenacious." The money will allow program administrators to purchase laptops and internet access to reach Phoenix students who need help with the college application process.

Kelly Bushong, executive director of the Phoenix Public Library Foundation, said the GRIT program is about removing the barriers keeping underserved students from higher education.

"Current high school seniors receive personalized advising," Bushong explained. "The students are assigned an adviser to support them through their senior year. First, they make an individualized senior plan and then, they receive assistance completing all those college-going steps."

She noted students in the program will use the technology with their GRIT adviser, and can take the laptops home if needed. GRIT is part of the Phoenix Public Library's College Depot, a free college access center which helps high schoolers get to college, as well as making it easier for others to return to college.

Bushong pointed out GRIT is one of the newer programs at College Depot, created in response to the national decline in college enrollment. She emphasized completing college applications, submitting the FAFSA forms, applying for scholarships and comparing financial-aid packages can be overwhelming.

Bushong stressed the best time for high schoolers to sign up for GRIT is the summer before their senior year.

"There's a few hundred students in the program now," Bushong explained. "Adding the computers, we will be able to reach even more students. And then, underclassmen can sign up to get notified about future GRIT classes opening up."

She added the Phoenix Public Library has other programs through College Depot offering laptop lending options for high school students.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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