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Elizabeth A Robinson
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Aiken Technical College & Aiken County Public Schools Announce Within Reach Partnership

ATC Foundation Board Commits $25,000 in Scholarships

(May 07, 2015, Aiken, SC) Aiken Technical College (ATC) and the Aiken County Public School District (ACPSD) are working together to increase the number of Aiken County students attending college. The partnership, known as the Within Reach Initiative, engages ATC in opportunities with both ACPSD high school and middle schools over the next several years. 
The Aiken Technical College Foundation has committed $25,000 for 25 $1,000 Reach scholarships for graduating seniors entering ATC this fall. 
The beginnings of the Within Reach Initiative materialized when all high school and middle school principals attended idea generation sessions on the ATC campus this past fall.  District leadership also attended the sessions, with Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt present for all three.  The sessions generated ideas on how ATC and ACPSD could partner more effectively to increase educational attainment in Aiken County.
“Recent studies indicate that Aiken County lags behind both South Carolina and the nation in the percentage of residents with an associate degree or higher,” said Dr. Susan Winsor, president of Aiken Technical College.  “The changing nature of our economy demands that more of our residents have some college education in order to sustain our local economy.  The Within Reach Initiative is designed to ensure that students know the importance of college before high school graduation, and that they make plans to attend college immediately before life’s challenges intervene.” 
As part of the Within Reach Initiative, Aiken Technical College will engage in a number of activities at district high schools.  Examples include working with ACPSD to identify students that will benefit from a two-year education, providing financial aid workshops, and using technology to offer dual enrollment courses for high school juniors and seniors.  Beginning in the fall of 2015, ATC will place a representative weekly at two pilot high schools chosen by the district, Midland Valley and Silver Bluff, and the partners plan to expand that arrangement to all seven high schools in 2016. 
ACPSD Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt praised the partnership as an opportunity to better prepare students for college. “We’re pleased to partner with ATC to help clear the pathway to college for more of Aiken County’s high school students. On-site representatives from ATC at high school campuses each week, additional opportunities for college credit, enhanced virtual learning and tuition assistance will help ensure an easier transition into college for our students.”
The ATC Foundation committed $25,000 in scholarships for fall 2015 to help address the financial needs of local families who are struggling to afford college. The scholarship, combined with S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance, allows students to afford most of the tuition and fee costs at ATC for the 2015-2016 academic year.  
In future years, ATC and ACPSD will expand partnership activities to local middle schools.  In addition, ACPSD guidance counselors and others will spend part of their in-service day before the school year begins learning about two-year education and how counselors can work with students that will benefit from attending ATC. 
Reach Scholarship Criteria
  • Aiken County High School students graduating in 2015
  • Must enroll at ATC in 12 credits or more for the fall 2015 semester
  • HS GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Preference given to students receiving Technical Advanced Placement (TAP) credit or previous Aiken Early College participants

For more information on Reach Scholarships provided by the ATC Foundation, please contact the ATC Foundation Office at 803-508-7413.
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