Establish college access centers

Many cities have set goals to increase the number of residents with postsecondary degrees or vocational-technical certifications, but they will only reach these goals if they can help high school students overcome the numerous barriers that often prevent them from enrolling in universities, colleges or postsecondary institutions that provide high-quality career and technical education. College access centers are one promising model for tackling this challenge. They can be virtual, relying upon phone consultations and web-based resources, or housed as a “one-stop” center in a physical location. In either form, college access centers can assist students and their families as they explore, apply to and enroll in postsecondary institutions that are well suited to their interests and needs and enable them to reach their full potential.

City Example: San Antonio, Texas

Launch an annual FASFA campaign

Helping students and families successfully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) paves the way for the financial assistance that can open the doors to a postsecondary education or vocational training. Equally as important, the process of completing the FAFSA and learning about eligibility for federal student aid increases the likelihood that students will enroll in some type of postsecondary institution. City leaders can lead the way in raising awareness of the availability of federal student aid and the importance of postsecondary education as a key to success in a global economy.

City Example: Los Angeles, California

Create a summer bridge program for college-bound students

Summer bridge programs for high school graduates help give them the skills they need for a smooth transition into college and persistence in earning a college degree. These programs often are located on college campuses, providing essential information on what to expect in a college environment and advice on topics such as time management, course selection, socialization, and avoiding negative behaviors. As they pursue citywide goals for postsecondary success, city leaders are uniquely positioned to work with their school districts and local colleges and universities to create or expand summer bridge programs that ensure a smooth transition.

City Example: Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia