College Advising Corps looking to expand

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COLUMBIA - In the last seven years, the Missouri College Advising Corps has expanded from helping at just seven schools to 37. 

The executive director of the Missouri College Advising Corps, Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, spoke Thursday in front of the Missouri Board of Higher Education to discuss future funding.

The program aids students with their college decisions, both educational and financial, which some students may struggle to make without help. 

"Without the college adviser, a lot of students might miss crucial deadlines or maybe they would not get scholarships they otherwise could have gotten," Bankhead said. 

Many of the students the program works with are the first in their family to attend college, so there are some students, Bankhead said, that don't know about benefits offered to them.

"A lot of the students in our partner schools are low-income students and so they may not know the finances that are available to them," she said. "They may not know about state aid or federal aid or private scholarships or institutional aid. So, without the college adviser a lot of them wouldn't know that yes, it is financially possible."

It's a process that Bankhead said can be life changing. 

"Without that college adviser, many of our advisees tell us they would not have considered going to college, let alone having gone and then having complete it," she said.

She said since all of the funding for the program is external, about $1 million are needed to fully expand the program to the 120 eligible schools in Missouri. 

To be eligible for the adviser's help, a school must have a college attending rate at or below the state average. 

Bankhead said the next step is to expand the program to 54 high schools, along with expanding to southern and central Missouri.