Here is a brief overview of the many ways GRASP is helping Virginia's youth attain post-secondary success.
In-School Advising – GRASP fills a specific need in 80 high schools by educating students about how to fund post-secondary education and providing hands-on help to follow through with the required applications. This is an involved process made more complicated by an array of deadlines and necessary information. In-school advisors work within high school counseling departments where they are welcomed for their particular expertise in post-secondary financial aid.
Early Commitment – At 29 high schools, GRASP implements SOAR Virginia®, an early commitment program funded by Virginia529℠ that serves students in 10th through 12th grade. Advisors work with participating students on financial literacy, attendance, grades, community service, post-secondary school options and post-secondary financial aid. Students who meet the program requirements can receive up to $2,000 in scholarships funded by Virginia529.
Summer Melt – During the summer following high school graduation, a texting program gives students a lifeline for help with roadblocks that arise between graduation and matriculation. Once enrolled, they may take advantage of GRASP’s College Success Program.
Students have the opportunity to continue to receive support after high school graduation through the College Success Program, which uses a near-peer approach. The College Success Advisor, a recent college graduate, mentors students as they matriculate to a post-secondary institution. The program's focus on post-secondary retention is achieved through social media, email programs, and problem-solving services. The College Success GRASP advisor leverages existing college support systems while providing personalized assistance. Participating students may also apply for College Success Scholarships for post-secondary expenses.
Thanks to an Altria Success360 grant, GRASP has been able to partner with Henrico County Public Schools to pilot a program for middle school students in the 2018-2019 school year at Brookland Middle School. “Your Future” directly impacts adolescents at their most impressionable time. GRASP Advisor Leeann Neely guides students as they explore career options, including skilled trades, and the post-secondary educational pathways required to attain them.
Last Dollar Scholarships* – The GRASP in-school advisors are typically able to assemble a sizable financial aid package for students. However, expenses for books, technology needs, and other costs are frequently not covered by the financial aid package. As a result, some students are unable to attend the institution of their choice. The need for small, targeted Last Dollar Scholarships became apparent, and through the generosity of business and personal donors, these scholarships have become possible. GRASP awards at least one Last Dollar Scholarship per high school it serves.
Community College Pathway Scholarships* – A scholarship program designed to assist students in either obtaining a workforce credential or transferring from community college to receive a baccalaureate degree from one of Virginia’s colleges and universities at a much lower cost and with less debt. Select applicants will be awarded a scholarship of $1000 applied to their first year of community college which may be renewed for a second year. These scholarships help meet the cost of books, a computer, or other expenses not covered by the student’s financial aid package.
EISP Scholarships* – Scholarships are available for kindergarten through twelfth grade students to attend a private school, with a focus on students with learning differences or other special circumstances, through Virginia’s Education Improvement Scholarship Program (EISP). Scholarships typically range from $2,600 to $6,000 per academic year. The Virginia Legislature establishes the criteria for this program. More information is available at www.graspeisp.org. Funds for these scholarships are supported by Virginia’s EISP tax credit program.
*GRASP’s scholarships are dependent on donor support.