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City announces $3.5 million for high schools to help boost college enrollment

New York City is continuing its push for increased college enrollment with an initiative announced Thursday that includes around $3.5 million in direct funding for 100 high schools to implement college planning programs.

The 100 schools, chosen because of their low college enrollment rates, are the first to participate in the program. By the 2018-19 school year, the city hopes to have every student graduate with an individualized college and career plan.

The $3.5 million will be allocated among schools depending on the number of students they serve. Overall, the program will cost the city about $6.8 million in the 2016-17 school year, and include the hiring of 11 college planning coaches, each working with around 10 schools.

“The goal here is to make sure lots of people are serving students, many more than are serving them now,” Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg said, explaining that the coaches will train school staff on how to ready more kids for college. “The best way to do that is to work with the people who are already in schools — these 11 people will make sure thousands of people can work with students.”

Staff from all 100 schools will attend a summer training at the Summer College Access Inquiry Institute to build plans for creating a “college and career culture,” and have monthly meetings throughout the year for continuing support on program development.

The initiative will allow all high school juniors to take the SAT for free during the school day on April 5, 2017. High schools will also receive support for data tools like the Progress to Graduation Tracker to oversee students’ progress in the college search and application process.

The program, known as “College Access for All — High School,” has a related middle school program, which provides early exposure to college through campus tours. That program was recently extended to include 167 middle schools starting in the fall, and is expected to reach every city middle school by the 2018-19 school year.