Foundation allows more students ACCESS to college

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Staff report

The Suffolk Education Foundation (SEF) has made the first commitment of $5,000 toward the $192,000 goal of the Suffolk ACCESS Campaign.

ACCESS first began helping seniors in Suffolk’s Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools one day per week in Sept. 2003.

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End-of-year results show that ACCESS helped 60 percent of the students with a C+ average or above complete their plans for college.

They also provided more than $6,000 in SAT, ACT, and college application fee waivers and payments.

More than $850,000 in financial aid and scholarships was leveraged for Suffolk students – more than $47 for every $1 spent on program services.

In Sept. 2004, the new King’s Fork High School was included in the college advisory services offered to high school seniors.

&uot;Our Suffolk experience has been wonderful!&uot; says Bonnie B. Sutton, president and CEO of ACCESS College Foundation.

&uot;The superintendent (Dr. Milton Liverman), school board and school faculties have welcomed ACCESS with open arms and Suffolk students are the ones benefiting from this partnership.&uot;

The Suffolk campaign to raise $192,000 will provide an additional day of services in each high school for the next three years to increase the preparation level for high school juniors.

CACOV, Birdsong Corporation, and Remax Across Town, Inc. have already committed financially since the SEF made its commitment.

&uot;We try to explore all opportunities to enhance education,&uot; said SEF Executive Director Tim Copeland. &uot;We were asked to listen to an ACCESS presentation, and we were very impressed with what the foundation does.&uot;

Copeland made a presentation to the SEF board last May, and the donation was approved in September.

&uot;We wanted to help them with their new fundraising program here in Suffolk because it goes hand-in-hand with what we do,&uot; Copeland said.

Frank Batten and Josh Darden, two Norfolk businessmen who are well known for their civic and philanthropic activities, established the ACCESS program in 1988.

The idea for the program was the result of discussions about the growing deficit of trained labor and educated minds in the nation as compared to global competitors.

&uot;The Suffolk Education Foundation was the first to step up to the plate with ACCESS funding in the Suffolk public high schools.&uot; said Allen Perrel, ACCESS Board member and chair of Suffolk campaign. &uot;We hope others will join them in this effort to help more young people go to college.&uot;

Since 1988, the ACCESS College Foundation has helped 31,000 students from the public schools of South Hampton Roads go to college, and leveraged $110 million in financial aid and scholarships for these students.

ACCESS helps young people go to college by inspiring the hope that a college education is attainable; by supporting them in achieving the requirements for college acceptance; by guiding them through the college application process; and by assisting them in gaining the funds to attend college.