November 4, 2004/Oklahoma Higher Education Web
Site Provides Information in Spanish
Oklahoma’s Spanish-speaking students and their families can now access online information that is designed to help them better prepare for college, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently announced.
Oklahoma’s GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, just unveiled the Spanish version of the Oklahoma Higher Education Student Center. The Spanish-language Web site includes information on planning and paying for college, the value of a college education, college costs, financial aid, college entrance requirements, high school course requirements, information on being a first-generation college student and more.
The introduction of online college preparation materials in Spanish was made possible in part through a $75,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education. This grant was awarded as part of Lumina Foundation’s McCabe Fund, which supports organizations that enable students, particularly first-generation college students, to broaden and make the most of postsecondary education opportunities.
“Oklahoma’s rapidly growing Hispanic community is a vital part of the social and educational fabric of our state,” said Chancellor Paul G. Risser. “Contributions made by Hispanic Oklahomans add value to our culture, our workforce and our way of life here in Oklahoma,” he said. “The Spanish-language Web site is part of higher education’s efforts to target resources specifically designed to meet the needs of the Hispanic population. We cannot overlook opportunities to promote college preparation to any segment of our population if we want to see our state grow and thrive in the 21st century.”
In addition to the Web site, parent and student guides are being produced this fall to help Spanish-speaking parents and students understand steps they can take to better prepare for college. The educational materials will be shared through Hispanic civic organizations, K-12 schools and higher education institutions.
GEAR UP is a federal program, administered by the State Regents, designed to help better prepare middle and high school students for college by providing college preparation activities, scholarship opportunities and public awareness materials for students and their parents. Oklahoma GEAR UP has three primary components: college readiness, scholarship funding and statewide awareness. Each component is designed to meet specific needs, including the need to remove financial barriers to college, the need to provide accurate information about postsecondary options and the need for academic preparation, social support and guidance for college.
Currently, Oklahoma GEAR UP provides educational materials to fifth- through 12th-grade students on the importance of planning early for college. GEAR UP also provides printed guides for parents that contain information on the role that parents play in their children's college preparation, the economic benefits of obtaining a college degree, course requirements, admissions standards, college costs and financial aid.
“The Spanish-language Web site is a value-added extension of the college preparation materials that students receive at school,” said Risser. “The Web site reinforces early preparation while giving students the opportunity to start preparing early with access to information on every college and university in Oklahoma. There are tips on financial aid, including information on the statute permitting undocumented Hispanic students to receive state financial aid. But most importantly, the site offers students the opportunity to discover that by preparing well, college is affordable and attainable.”
About GEAR UP
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with a state GEAR UP grant totaling $20.5 million in August 1999. The grant has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With the addition of year six federal funding, Oklahoma's GEAR UP program has received approximately $25 million in federal funds since 1999. GEAR UP receives 50 percent of total funding from the federal government and 50 percent from other organizations.
About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based, private, independent foundation, strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access and success in education beyond high school. Through research, grants for innovative programs and communication initiatives, Lumina Foundation addresses issues surrounding financial access and educational retention and degree or certificate attainment — particularly among underserved student groups, including adult learners. The Foundation bases its mission on the belief that postsecondary education remains one of the most beneficial investments that individuals can make in themselves and that society can make in its people. For more details on the Foundation, visit its Web site.