A College Field Trip for Family Leadership Institute Parents
Parents in the Title I-sponsored Family Leadership Institute took a field trip to a place where most had never visited- a college campus. The University of Nebraska-Omaha was host to a conference which presented various topics on how to help children attend, and then graduate, from college.
Project Achieve: A federally funded Student Support Services program, Project Achieve is open to UNO undergraduates who qualify as first generation students, are of limited income, or are disabled. Mel Clancy, Project Achieve Director, said the program helps students both financially and scholastically. "If you are willing to work, then we'll help you," he said. That help comes in the form of tutoring, smaller and more comfortable technology labs, laptop computers for check out, grant aid and scholarships,cultural outings, and workshops on how to survive in the world outside of college. Clancy said most children should pursue education beyond high school. Those who do well in high school and stay out of trouble will enhance their chances of obtaining admission to a university or receiving grant/scholarship money. Click here for further information.
Recruitment and Admissions: Representatives from UNO said students in the top half of their high school class stand the best chance of gaining admission to the college. An ACT score of 20 or an SAT of 950 are preferred on the entrance exams. Practice tests are available from the UNO campus. It was emphasized going to college is a pathway and not the result of an immediate decision. That is, students should confer with conselors early, form good study and behavior habits now, and take advantage of all the assistance UNO offers.
Financial Aid and Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on merit or need. Merit criteria are scores from the ACT or SAT exams, class rank or GPA scores. Need criteria is determined by family finances. Speakers from the Financial Aid office stressed to parents they must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to be eligible for financial assistance. There is a large pool of money available to help with tuition, yet many people fail to apply for it, they said.
Adult Education Opportunities: A Bachelor of General Studies degree program is offered for students 21 and older. It is geared for those who delayed higher-level learning, i.e. military service, raising a family, joining the workforce, etc. Students select from 46 areas of concentration (majors). On-line options are available, with advisors assigned to help explain scheduling and course requirements.
Campus Tour: A short walk from the Thompson Alumni House gave an insiders' look into the Maverick Village, one of four housing blocks on campus. It showed visitors these are not like the dorm rooms of old. Each living unit comes with 4 carpeted bedrooms, 2 full baths, a furnished living room, and a kitchen, complete with major appliances. FLI parents were amazed at the very reasonable fee of $483 a month which includes all utilites and internet/cable hookup.
FLI parents also took bus tours throughout the growing UNO campus. After a short cruise through the main college next to Dodge Street, the groups ventured south to the Kiewit Institute, where much construction is under way to expand the southern campus. Next door, the recently completed Aksarben Village retail center will offer the potential for goods and entertainment venues for future students once businesses move in. Even further south, the recently acquired Chili Greens Dome and sports fields provides possibilites for greater participation by intramural groups and sanctioned athletic teams.
Comments from a feedback session on the days' activities were positive. Many parents said they must have high expectations for their children to help them get to college. They said the opportunities are there, especially in the area of tuition assistance, if they just create a plan and are mindful of the schedule for application. Some noted that assistance for parents to go to secondary school was also available.