BOSTON – College Month is a month-long celebration of college readiness that combines an early college awareness strategy for young students with an intentional effort to help every high school senior to develop a post-secondary plan. It is rooted in a growing movement to foster a citywide college-going culture in Boston to ensure Boston's young people are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and achieve a degree that will allow them to thrive in the workplace.
“College completion is at the core of the Boston Foundation’s work to strengthen and grow educational opportunities for our region’s most disadvantaged,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “It is a major factor in providing economic mobility to all of Greater Boston’s residents. And a decade after College Month’s creation, we are proud to help lead its 2016 launch with the same partners behind our tried and proven Success Boston college completion initiative.”
For many, October is the perfect month to create awareness about college affordability, college admissions, and the types of degrees and careers that go along with a college education. Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston launched College Month in 2006 to promote Get Ready for College Day activities for BPS eighth graders, as well as the distribution of a newly-developed BPS College and Career Guide. Ten years later, College Month is sustained by BPS and the community partnerships of the Success Boston College Completion Initiative. Success Boston, launched in 2008, is a partnership of the Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Foundation, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), and more than 50 higher education and nonprofit institutions. The initiative is working to double – to 70% – the six-year college completion rate of BPS graduates.
"Boston Public Schools is fully committed to supporting all students in reaching college and career readiness," said Superintendent Tommy Chang. "BPS educators work tirelessly to develop the skills of each child, so that they can become future attorneys, doctors, teachers and beyond. BPS is going to continue to build momentum around College Month so that every child knows their options, has access to support in filling out applications, and recognizes that they can accomplish their dreams."
College Month 2016 will begin with a Citywide College Pride Day on Wednesday, October 5th, during which teachers, school leaders, and other city education and business leaders will wear apparel from their alma mater to help draw visibility to the effort. On Saturday, October 8th, the 5th annual City-Wide College and Career Fair will be held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College. The Fair is expected to draw hundreds of students and parents to connect with dozens of colleges and universities from across New England and other states, as well.
This year, there is an important change to the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Starting in 2016, FAFSA forms may be completed as early as October 1st, using a family’s prior year’s tax returns. This new timeline is particularly important because federal financial aid is distributed to students on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees of the Citywide College & Career Fair on Saturday, October 8th will be able to access free, personalized support to complete FAFSA forms on-the-spot. Support for completing FAFSA forms is also available online at https://fafsa.gov/.
Each week in College Month will highlight a “college knowledge” theme. Students across elementary, middle, and high schools will participate in age-appropriate college awareness activities. This year, the themes are:
As part of its public awareness campaign, a College Month 2016 Toolkit is available online with additional information, resources, key messages to share with students, and suggested activities for each week. In addition, students and families can find relevant resources and ask questions pertaining to college, financial aid, and career by using the hashtag, #CollegeMonth and accessing a shared resource folder at http://tinyurl.com/CollegeMonth2016.
Learn more about and engage with College Month:
Twitter Chat: #CollegeMonth
The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of some $1 billion. In 2015, the Foundation and its donors paid $135 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $123 million. In celebration of its Centennial in 2015, the Boston Foundation launched the Campaign for Boston to strengthen the Permanent Fund for Boston, the only endowment fund focused on the most pressing needs of Greater Boston. The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes.
The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.