Superintendent's Memo #079-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 9, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: College Access Providers Help Virginia Students

A wealth of community-based groups are at work in the Commonwealth helping students through the often complicated process of applying to and paying for college. Identifying and coordinating the efforts of these access groups so they can better serve Virginia’s students is the goal of a recent study by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

In November 2008, SCHEV partnered with researchers at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Tech to collect data from community-based access providers. During the course of their work, researchers identified more than 450 access providers delivering services throughout the Commonwealth.

“A Statewide Examination of College Access Services and Resources in Virginia” examines the patchwork of organizations across the Commonwealth that help students overcome various academic, financial, and personal obstacles that can prevent them from pursuing education beyond high school.

The study presents detailed information about the types and locations of access resources currently available to Virginians who seek assistance in planning for and applying to colleges, universities, and career and technical training programs. The study also compares these resources to the access and academic needs of the Commonwealth, and offers recommendations to improve access services throughout Virginia. A copy of the study was mailed to division superintendent’s on Monday, March 15, 2010.

The full study is available on the SCHEV website at SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency administers the federal College Access Challenge Grant, which is designed by the U.S. Department of Education to promote access to college and increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education. For additional information contact Dr. Monica Osei, assistant director for Academic Affairs and Planning and Student Programs, via telephone at (804) 225-2610 or via e-mail at