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K-State Today

February 1, 2021

Kansas State College Advising Corps convenes advisory board

Submitted by Laura Loyacono

The Kansas State College Advising Corps, or KSCAC, recently assembled an advisory board to help provide direction for the program. Housed in the Office of Enrollment Management, the initiative aims to increase the number of first-generation, low-income and underrepresented high school students entering and completing higher education. Part of a national network, KSCAC hires recent college graduates to serve as college advisers full time in select high schools in Wyandotte and Johnson counties.

The new 12-member board provides overall guidance and helps identify opportunities for program improvement and development, including potential service niches and new market prospects. They represent a broad cross-section of community and post-secondary partners that share the goal of improving college access in Kansas.

Members include: 

  • Jeanne Brown Leonard, vice provost for student success, K-State.
  • Samantha DeVilbiss, director of student success, Kansas City Kansas Community College.
  • Karen Goos, vice provost for enrollment management, K-State.
  • Tara Lebar, associate director of academic affairs, Kansas Board of Regents.
  • Kaye Monk-Morgan, interim vice president of regional engagement and economic development, Wichita State University.
  • David Ochoa, executive director, Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund.
  • Alan Penrose, principal, Turner High School.
  • Madai Rivera, assistant director for student engagement, K-State.
  • Natalie Schmidt-Konkel, high school counselor, Olathe West High School.
  • Jackie Spears, interim dean and CEO, K-State Olathe Campus.
  • Eric Wilkinson, director of operations, Kauffman Scholars Inc.
  • Bryon Williams, interim director of New Student Services, K-State. 

The advisory board will first meet quarterly, and eventually move to two meetings per year. 

Comprised of both in-person and virtual advising models, KSCAC hires recent college graduates to serve as college advisers who support students and families with the postsecondary planning process. The program delivers advisers with 200 hours of pre-service training. The advisers provide students grades 9 through 12 with one-on-one assistance with ACT preparation, help qualifying for financial aid and scholarships, creating a well-rounded college list with application support, and best-fit school selection based on the student’s interests, academic preparation and resources. 

Five years ago, KSCAC was launched with six partner high schools and financial support from local foundations, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Now, KSCAC has expanded into 13 high schools, including five in Kansas City, Kansas, Turner High School, four in the Shawnee Mission School District, and three in Olathe. Embedded advisers are placed in high schools full-time, and serve as AmeriCorps members for up to two years. KSCAC also has six hybrid advisers, serving students across the metro who receive the KC Scholars’ scholarships.

"Our advisers help students fulfill their college-going plans," said Karen Goos, vice provost for enrollment management. "Nationally, there is a 7% decline in first-generation and low-income students completing college applications and a 16% drop in students completing the FAFSA compared to last year. Our advisers are providing critical supports to thousands of students in Kansas who are striving to access higher education with the hopes of social mobility."

Going forward, the program plans to build on its success by improving coordination within high schools and communication about the program’s successes with key decision-makers in Kansas. In addition to assembling an advisory committee, other recommendations include widely disseminating information about the program within Kansas State University, and strengthen relationships within relevant departments and academic units.

To find out more about the KSCAC, visit the website or contact Meghan Higgins, director, at mcbhiggins@k-state.edu

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