Oregon Student Access Commission Receives Grant for ASPIRE Pre-college Mentoring Program

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$50,000 from the A. Ted and Doris E. Nelson Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation

September 12, 2011

Eugene, OR – The Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC) is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the A. Ted and Doris E. Nelson Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation for the ASPIRE program.

ASPIRE (Access to Student assistance Programs In Reach of Everyone) is Oregon's official mentoring program to help students access education and training beyond high school. Students receive information about college options, admission, and financial aid from trained ASPIRE volunteer mentors who work one-on-one with them throughout the year.

Beginning with initial funding from The Oregon Community Foundation, four pilot schools were launched in 1998. Today, ASPIRE has expanded to 125 sites across Oregon and annually engages more than 1,500 volunteers, and reaches more than 60,000 students from all walks of life, according to Josette Green, Executive Director of OSAC.

The generous grant from the A. Ted and Doris E. Nelson fund of The Oregon Community Foundation provides funding for development of evaluation, strategic business, and funding development plans; a part-time trainer; and partnership grants for seven sites in Oregon. The partnership grants will enable sites serving high school students to recruit and train volunteer mentors who will work with students to plan for postsecondary education after graduation.

"These mentors help students navigate the various postsecondary options, including two- and four-year colleges, technical/vocational schools, and apprenticeship programs and also help students explore financial aid options, including searching and applying for scholarships," Green said.

Students who participate in ASPIRE receive one-on-one mentoring. Other students at the site may receive information about scholarships and financial assistance at workshops that are open to everyone.

ASPIRE is administered by the Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC), a state agency whose mission is to assist Oregon students and their families in attaining a postsecondary education and to enhance the value, integrity, and diversity of Oregon's college programs.

The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) works to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support community causes they care about. Through these funds OCF awards more than $60 million annually in grants and scholarships.