$500,000 Awarded to College Now Greater Cleveland to Continue Scholarship Funding

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Donisha Greene: (216) 443-7075; dgreene@cuyahogacounty.us 

Cuyahoga County, OH – Today, in Cuyahoga County, according to the US Census Bureau, only 30.9 percent of adults ages 25-64 have college degrees. And yet, according to the most recently released TeamNEO report, “Aligning Opportunities in Northeast Ohio,” an 11 percent gap exists between the percentage of individuals with postsecondary education and the percentage of jobs that will need these credentials by 2020.

Recognizing the critical importance of postsecondary educational attainment and the need to increase college graduation rates for County residents, in 2013, Cuyahoga County Council awarded a grant of $380,000 to College Now Greater Cleveland through the Cuyahoga County Educational Assistance Program to provide renewable scholarships, mentoring and retention services to academic and financially eligible students within the County who received College Now’s college access advising while in their high schools and who are now pursuing their postsecondary degrees at institutions within the County.

“We are pleased to be part of this important initiative,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “Our partnership with College Now is paving the way to good jobs with upward income mobility and career advancement for hundreds of Cuyahoga County residents.”

County Council recently approved a contract of $500,000 to College Now to continue this scholarship funding and accompanying mentoring and renewal services for a sixth cohort of County residents. To date, the County has awarded a total of $2.8 million to College Now and over 425 students have been awarded renewable scholarships.

This program is working! Seventy percent of students from the first cohort have earned their postsecondary degrees or are still pursuing them while 66 percent from the second cohort and 91 percent from the third cohort are doing so. Likewise, 91 percent of students in the fourth cohort returned to college for their sophomore year while students in the fifth cohort have just completed their freshmen year. Students for the sixth cohort have been notified that they will receive the scholarship when they begin college this fall.

“Cuyahoga County Executive Budish and County Council are tremendous partners for College Now,” said Lee Friedman, CEO of College Now. “The County understands the critical need for increasing the educational attainment of the County’s residents, and they not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk as well by investing in students through the Educational Assistance Program. We are grateful for their continued partnership.”

“I am proud of the impact that Cuyahoga County has had in breaking down financial and social barriers to post-secondary access and success for so many young students through this program,” stated Councilwoman Sunny Simon. “This funding and mentorship support is a vital resource leading to educational and professional achievement.”