The regional college funder community is committed to identifying gaps and innovative ways to leverage postsecondary award strategies, particularly for historically underserved populations. To understand how to better prepare and fund students of all ages to complete postsecondary degrees and technical certifications, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation collaborated on study across the four-county region of Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.
Together, these foundations award more than $3 million in scholarships each year across the four counties.
The results of the study have identified many opportunities for addressing gaps and inequities in postsecondary preparation, funding, and persistence. Some highlights include:
- Gaps to address: equal access to college acceleration programs (like AP, IB, AICE and dual enrollment) as well as ACT/SAT test preparation, and Black and Hispanic college enrollment rates, which lag behind state averages.
- Investment opportunities: renewable scholarships and emergency funds to help students deal with unexpected financial barriers to completing their credentials and investing in impactful mentoring programs that yield a high return on investment.
- Collaboration areas: Both foundations are focused on immediate collaborative actions around community data tracking, creating a scholarship funders forum with local financial aid officers and other scholarship providers, creating a regional database platform inclusive of local scholarship opportunities, and working with the Local College Access Networks in the region.
To read the full report and detailed findings, as well as a list of participants in the analysis, visit https://www.cfsarasota.org/media-center/publications.