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Adult College Access Program comes to Barberton to serve Summit County

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College Now Greater Cleveland announced that it has received a grant in the amount of $70,000 from the Barberton Community Foundation and the City of Barberton. This partnership will deliver College Now's proven college access program, including advising, financial aid counseling and scholarship and retention services to the community and to the great Summit County area.

College Now is a college access organization that assists more than 23,000 students each year, delivering college access advising, financial aid counseling, and scholarship and retention services. Until now, College Now has primarily served adult students in Cuyahoga County at its Downtown Cleveland Resource Center.

The Barberton Public Library will play a role in the partnership as well, leveraging its role in the community as a place that promotes education and providing space for College Now’s dedicated college access advisor, who will deliver college access and financial aid counseling to Barberton residents.

Beginning in April, this advisor will inventory individuals’ career goals, past educational experiences and financial situations and, as needed, help them reconcile past student debt issues, locate GED programs, apply for financial aid, explore and compare postsecondary options and enroll in the postsecondary option that is the best fit. The advisor will also refer to other community services that help adults address issues that hinder their completion of college.

“College Now has a long track record of working with adult learners,” said College Now CEO Lee Friedman. “We understand from our experience how their barriers to college completion differ from those of students going to college straight from high school. We have the know-how and the resources to support their unique situations and help them navigate the college process.”

According to the U.S. Census, 11.5 percent of Barberton residents ages 25 and over have completed a bachelor’s degree, while another 17.2 percent have some college but no degree. Also according to the U.S. Census, the median household income in Barberton is $45,691, and 16.2 percent of families and 34 percent of children in Barberton live in poverty.

With this in mind, and knowing the many individual and community benefits that come with higher education – higher earnings, a larger tax base, reduced crime, decreased need for government services, etc. – the Barberton Community Foundation, the Barberton Public Library and the City of Barberton have partnered with College Now to increase college attainment among its residents.

The goal of the partnership is two-fold: first, College Now will work to increase the number of non-traditional (adult) students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA completion is an indicator of an intent to enroll in a postsecondary option. Second, College Now will work to increase the number of Barberton residents who enroll in a postsecondary credential or degree program.

“We are thrilled about our partnership with College Now,” said Tom Harnden, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Barberton Community Foundation. “We believe that investing in Barberton residents and helping them achieve their goals of a college education will benefit the City of Barberton as well as surrounding communities in Summit County that have been hard-hit economically these last five years.”

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