AdviseAZ and Other Service Programs Are Essential for Arizona Families and Communities
By Dr. Richard Daniel
America has a rich tradition of service dating back to the early years of our country. The depth and breadth of American service efforts has expanded notably since the Great Depression. Civic, non-profit, and governmental organizations and agencies – such as The Corporation for National and Community Service, which manages AmeriCorps and Senior Corps – have implemented community service projects and programs focused on improving the quality of life for millions of people.
By building infrastructure, prioritizing conservation, reducing poverty, and expanding educational opportunities, service programs play a vital role in strengthening communities locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Service programs have a significant impact in Arizona. Through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps alone, 5,100 Americans participated in national service at 600+ locations, and more than $17.9 million was invested in Arizona communities. College Success Arizona is proud that our new AdviseAZ program, a partnership with Earn to Learn, will add to the efforts and the impacts of AmeriCorps in Arizona.
In keeping with our commitment to helping more individuals and families access the educational opportunities that can lead to increased economic mobility, and help grow Arizona’s economy in turn, the goal of the AdviseAZ is to increase the number of high school students who enroll and complete postsecondary education.
The program will place well-trained, near-peer college advisers – all of whom are current college students or recent graduates – in high schools and community sites that serve significant numbers of low-income and first-generation college-going students. Advisers will help students navigate the complex college exploration process, retake college admissions tests, apply to colleges that are a good fit, complete the FAFSA, secure financial aid, and matriculate to college.
The importance of expanding access to this kind of college advising should not be underestimated, especially in Arizona. Our state has the worst school counselor-to-student ratio in the country, 905:1, meaning that far too many students do not have access to essential academic and college advising (not to mention personal and mental health support).
AdviseAZ has the potential to significantly expand the number of students who have access to the advising services that can transform attending college from dream to reality. Together with schools and community organizations, we can make the difference that propels Arizona residents and the state toward a more prosperous future.
Dr. Richard Daniel is the Executive Vice President and COO of College Success Arizona where he directs the organization’s research and policy activities.