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Green River awarded $200,000 for college access effort

Green River Community College has been awarded a grant to launch the South King County College Access Network with a goal to increase college enrollment and completion among South King County students.

SKC-CAN expects to serve more than 45,000 students in 27 high schools and 25 middle schools in the Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton and Tukwila school districts.

The two-year $202,244 grant comes to Green River from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. SKC-CAN, to be modeled after College Access Network models already at work throughout the country, will work to raise awareness, enrollment, persistence and completion in college among South King County students.

"This grant will help us and our network of community partners teach students about the benefits of higher education as a career pathway," said Green River President Dr. Eileen Ely.

Ely pointed out estimates projecting 67 percent of jobs in Washington state will require a postsecondary education by 2018. Only 22 percent of the South King County region's students earn college degrees or certificates by the age of 24, with significant drop offs among low-income students and students of color.

"The College Access Network will serve all South King County students with particular focus on first generation, low income and students of color," said Lindsey Morris, one of the grant's authors and manager of Green River's Welcome Services office.

Green River will partner with local community-based organizations, school districts, other community colleges, workforce development agencies and local government to teach students about college opportunities. The network will share postsecondary information among partners and families, provide professional development and plan regional activities to help students navigate the college going process.

The South King County College Access Network will be based at Green River's Kent Campus.

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