Students from Delhi High School are getting extra assistance in preparing for college thanks to a federal grant received by the Center for Educational Partnerships at the University of California, Merced.
The CEP has been awarded grants totaling more than $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Talent Search program, which is intended to increase the number of low-income and first-generation college students by helping them complete high school and enroll in and complete a postsecondary education.
Talent Search Manager Ismael Serrano explained the program was launched locally in 2006, and this year the renewed grant will increase UC counseling presence so DHS will have one embedded counselor on staff.
“Counselors provide in-depth training to high school counselors and provide one-on-one help for students starting as early as their freshman year,” he said. “We want to keep them on track for graduation and the goal of the program is to ensure that students are able to enroll in a college of their choice, whether it is a junior college, a CSU or a UC. The grant prohibits us from recruiting for just UC.”
Counselors will provide financial aid and loan information to students and parents, as well as give them a roadmap to college— including everything from taking the correct entry exams and high school AP and honors classes to application essays. In addition, tutors for specialized areas of instruction are available for students.
“In the end, whatever college the student wants to go to we are going to support them 100 percent,” said Serrano.
The Delhi High portion of the grant — totaling $1.15 million — will be directed to support students from Delhi who are from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend post-secondary education. According to Serrano, at least two-thirds of the program participants must meet federally outlined eligibility guidelines, which include being a citizen or national of the U. S., a permanent resident, and must be considered low-income and a potential first-generation high school student (neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree).
“Receiving these grants reflects the increased recognition of the outstanding work that the CEP is doing with the K-12 system up and down the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jane F. Lawrence, UCM vice chancellor for student affairs. “We are thrilled to be able to further these necessary programs so that more students will have the means to graduate from high school and continue on to postsecondary school.”
The five-year grants will support academic, college preparation and financial counseling for approximately 1,500 high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. In addition to Delhi, the new grants will allow the program to work with students from Corcoran, Farmersville, Fresno, Le Grand, Orestimba, Roosevelt and Strathmore high schools.
“These new grants will enable us to expand our existing program into new schools and affect the lives of more students,” said Orquidea Largo, interim director for the program. “The program provides a strong parent component, to help them become their child’s advisor and advocate.”
Approximately 600 area high school students are benefiting from the first four-year grant the CEP received from the Department of Education in 2006 to launch the Talent Search program at Delhi, Le Grand, Orestimba, El Diamante, Strathmore and Corcoran high schools.
“I’m confident in saying that our college going rate at Delhi is at least 85 percent. I want to see the day when our graduating seniors have a problem — the problem of having to pick from five or six universities that they have been accepted to,” said Serrano.
For more information about UC Merced’s Talent Search program, call (559) 241-7476.
To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.