Georgia College Advising Corps
The GCAC, launched in 2008, is the result of a partnership between IHE, the Watson-Brown Foundation and the College Advising Corps. The College Advising Corps serves more than 400,000 underserved students across the country. This school year, 375 advisers representing 20 institutions of higher education in 14 states will serve nearly 127,000 students across the country.
Recent college graduates are recruited and trained to work alongside professional high school guidance counselors with the goal of increasing college applications and attendance by helping first-generation, underrepresented, and low-income students enroll and graduate from postsecondary institutions that match and fit their academic profiles.
By increasing the number of Georgia high school students enrolling in and completing college, this program supports workforce and economic development for the state. And, UGA and the Institute benefit from the insights of students, counselors and teachers on current opportunities and persistent challenges in college access and completion.
On the national level, schools served by the program see an 8–12 percentage point increase in college-going rates versus control schools in the area. Advising Corps partner high schools see an average increase of $1 million in additional scholarship dollars per school for their college-going students. Surveys also found that partner high schools showed an overall increase in the number of college visits per student, attendance at college fairs, FAFSA completion, SAT/ACT registration, and overall school morale. Students have reported a greater awareness of higher education and what is required to attend college as a direct result of working with an adviser.
The Georgia College Advising Corps (GCAC), has recently expanded to 18 high schools across the state thanks to a generous commitment from The Robert Woodruff Foundation and other sponsors.
For many first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students, the college-going process is filled with complexities. Many of these students face significant barriers to college including financial difficulties, academic underpreparedness and a lack of the cultural and social capital necessary to navigate the high school-to-college pipeline.
Unfortunately, little one-on-one assistance is available for these students. On average, the student-to-guidance counselor ratio in high schools across the U.S. is 488 to 1, and the distribution of counselors prepared to provide accurate college information varies widely across schools. Schools in low-income areas have even higher student-to-guidance counselor ratios, and counselors are often faced with many responsibilities in addition to college advising.
To address this need, the Institute of Higher Education launched an innovative near-peer college advising program in 2008, with generous support from the Watson-Brown Foundation. Modeled after AmeriCorps and coordinated by the National College Advising Corps (NCAC), the Georgia College Advising Corps (GCAC) places college advisers in selected urban and rural high schools throughout Georgia.
Advisers are provided with tailored training to support their work with students, families and school administrators in an effort to promote and broaden college access.
Advisers are also challenged with creating a college-going culture in their schools and communities. Much of the work of advisers extends beyond the typical workday and beyond the walls of their high schools. Advisers partner with teachers, families and communities in an effort to motivate, assist and prepare all students for college.
Libby V. Morris, Executive Director
Yarbrah Peeples, Program Director
Mariea Tountasakis, Program Coordinator
Tiffanie Spencer, Program Assistant
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Inc.
Funding for 12 college advisers in 12 Atlanta area high schools
Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc.
Provided seed money to begin the PGCAC program in four high schools in Georgia
Funding support for Maynard Jackson High School (Atlanta)
East Lake Foundation
Funding support for Drew Charter School (Atlanta)
Funding support for Drew Charter School and Maynard Jackson High School (Atlanta)
Funding to support a college adviser at Clarke Central High School (Athens), Westside (Augusta), and Thomson High Schools (Thomson)
Bank of America
Funding to support projects at Clarke Central High School
John and Mary Franklin Foundation, Inc.
Funding support provided in four high schools