What's New at ACCESS College Foundation?
Check back frequently to see all of the great things happening at ACCESS!
Check back frequently to see all of the great things happening at ACCESS!
For the 6th consecutive year, ACCESS has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities! We're proud to say only 5% of charities they evaluate have received at least 6 consecutive 4-star evaluations.
What does the 4-star rating mean? Charity Navigator's goal is to provide clear, objective, and reliable assessments of both the financial health and accountability & transparency of charities, allowing donors to feel confident in the charities they support. A 4-star rating indicates an organization exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause.
For more information about our rating, take a look at our profile on the Charity Navigator website here.
On June 22, 2017, we held our annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon at the Virginia Beach Convention Center and proudly presented 135 local high school graduates with scholarships! Our keynote speaker, Virginia Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable S. Bernard Goodwyn, addressed the room full of students from Chesapeake, Norfolk, Northampton County, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach and encouraged them to "dream big" as they enter the next chapter of their lives.
A special thank you to all of our event sponsors: Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation, Joan and Macon Brock, Peggy and Conrad Hall, Old Dominion University, PRA Group, Virginia Tech, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, PNC Bank, Eastern Shore Community College, Virginia Wesleyan University, Virginia529, Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate and University of Mary Washington.
We wish our scholars the best as they begin the next chapter in their lives!
Visit our Facebook page for more photos from the event.
Check out coverage of the event in the Virginian-Pilot here.
On June 21, 2017, we held the augural event of our ACCESS Alumni Network at The Main in Norfolk! Alumni were able to connect with one another and with current ACCESS staff.
The night wouldn't have been complete without our special guests, Macon and Joan Brock! Mr. Brock, co-founder of Dollar Tree and author of "One Buck at a Time," shared his story and gave advice on how to succeed in business. What's the key to success? He said, "It all comes down to attitude and hard work."
Visit our Facebook page for more photos and keep an eye out for more upcoming ACCESS Alumni Network events!
On April 25, we gathered more than 2,500 high school seniors at Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Center for ACCESS College Commitment Day to celebrate their commitment to higher education. The students, who came from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Northampton County, have all been helped by ACCESS. Each one has been accepted to at least one college or university and will be headed there in the Fall!
Click here to watch our video!
A special thank you to our event speakers: Cedricka Dalton, Churchland High School gradate, who obtained bachelors’ degree from NSU and is currently an Electronics Engineer for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center on Naval Station Norfolk’s base and pursuing her master’s at ODU; and, Joseph Dugan, graduating senior at Princess Anne High School, planning to attend VCU in the Fall.
We even surprised the students and gave away SIX scholarships during our event! Thank you to our sponsors who made the event possible: Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, University of Mary Washington, j&a racing and Signature Family Wealth Advisors!
Find more photos from the event on our Facebook page!
In April, ACCESS students were able to tour multiple universities including Virginia State University, University of Mary Washington and University of Virginia. It was the first time many of these high school juniors were able to visit a college campus!
Our students took full advantage of this opportunity, asking questions and interacting with guides throughout the tours. The best question we heard was: "Where do freshman go to get addiitonal help with tutoring, mentoring and guidance?"
Thank you to our college student ambassadors and tour guides at each school! They led our students through each area of the campuses including dormitories, production classes, student centers, academic centers, and of course, dining centers. At ACCESS, we know tours are a vital part of the college selection process as students choose where to further their academic and career goals. We take pride in helping students find their best college fit.
Check out more photos on our Facebook page!
ACCESS College Foundation has been serving students in Suffolk, Virginia since 2003. In fact, over 13 years, 540 Suffolk students have received ACCESS scholarships, totaling $521,000. On April 3, 2017, we honored our Suffolk donors at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and heard stories from three ACCESS students. With the generous support of the community, we've been able to help students like Brianna, Keon and Alexxis and hundreds of others beginning in middle school and continuing through college graduation and beyond.
A special thank you to the students for sharing their stories and to our donors for making what we do possible.
Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page.
Learn more about our students in this article from the Suffolk News Herald.
On February 7, 2017, our President and CEO, Bonnie Sutton and ACCESS student, Bryce Norwood joined NCAN and many others for a briefing on Capitol Hill asking Congress to #FixFAFSA. While the The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) enables millions of students to attend college, the complexity and length results in low completion rates and leaves roughly $24 billion in federal student aid unclaimed.
In fact, Bryce almost lost his scholarship to James Madison University due to the complexities of the form. We were thrilled to be part of the briefing! A huge thank you to our fellow panelists and to Bryce for sharing his story!
Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the trip!
Learn more about the proposed changes to the FAFSA here: http://www.collegeaccess.org/fixfafsa
On January 31, 2017, our ACCESS Advisors visited the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They were able to take a tour of the campus and get a first-hand look at the John Farmer Multicultural Center, dormitories, gym, indoor pool and more.
Most importantly, they were able to meet some of the students and learn about the variety of majors and programs available. A special thank you to the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Success! We had a great time and learned so much about what the UMW has to offer!
Thank you to Old Dominion University and Megan Brammer, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, for hosting our ACCESS Advisors on January 20th!
We had a blast meeting Dean Adams, touring the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, hearing from Assistant Athletic Director, Regean Hill about being a student athlete and meeting students from the entrepreneurship academy. Of course, we loved lunch at the new state of the art Broderick Dining Hall and hanging out with Big Blue too! We can't wait to come back for another visit!
See more photos from the visit on our Facebook page!
This holiday season, ACCESS volunteered at the Salvation Army Distribution Depot and had the opportunity to serve over 45 families in our community about every 15 minutes!
Our employees also sponsored an Angel Tree and donated 25 gifts to make the season brighter for local families. We're so thankful for the opportunity to give back this holiday season!
Kyle Williams, Program Specialist, represented ACCESS College Foundation on a panel in Washington DC as an expert in the field of college access. There is strong bipartisan interest on Capitol Hill in simplifying the first and most visible step in the student aid process: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). But there is little awareness of, or advocacy around, what happens after the application is filed and why it matters. The panel discussed the barriers that the FAFSA verification process can create for low-income or otherwise at-risk students.
This collaborative project between TICAS, NCAN and NASFAA aims to educate members of Congress and their staff about the need to ensure that simplification on the front end of the application process isn’t undermined by complexity on the back end, where burdensome “verification” paperwork can delay or block eligible low-income students’ access to aid.
Thank you Kyle for sharing stories and information on how this process is impacting our students in South Hampton Roads and Northampton County and what can be done to improve the financial aid process! Read the full report here: www.ticas.org/content/pub/sidelines-simplification
ACCESS was chosen as one of 62 organizations from across the country this year to receive Bank of America's Neigborhood Builders Award! Through the program, Bank of America empowers non-profits to meet the changing needs in their communities by connecting them to leadership training development and $200,000 in flexible funding.
ACCESS will use the funding to expand their services and connect ACCESS Scholars with internship and job opportunities. To see more photos from the event, please visit our Facebook page!
College is expensive but that should not stop you from applying!
Our President and CEO, Bonnie Sutton, and College Success Advisor, Tabatha Hargrove, appeared on WTKR's Coast Live to provide tips on how to afford college.
Check out the clip here: http://wtkr.com/…/…/finding-money-for-college-on-coast-live/
Thank you to all who attended our 2016 Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, October 18th! We want to extend a special thank you to our speakers, Christelle Hollomon, an ACCESS Scholar, and Kimberly Adams, mother of ACCESS Scholar Israel Guerrera.
We are so proud of what we've been able to accomplish in the past year. Please take a look at some of the year's highlights in our 2016 Annual Report (available here).
Here's to another great year dedicated to fulfilling the ACCESS Promise: To be a guiding light, encouraging and supporting students through college completion and beyond.
October 1st marked the beginning of the new filing period for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The filing period previously began on January 1st; however this will be a permanent change, enabling students to submit a FAFSA as early as October 1st every year.
The change creates a better alignment between the financial aid and the college application processes, to provide more certainty for students. It means they will not have to estimate income information, and it allows more time for students and parents to explore and understand financial aid options before state and school deadlines.
Additionally, beginning this year, students are required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 information. Since 2015 taxes are already completed, students and parents won’t need to estimate tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it.
Check out our President and CEO, Bonnie Sutton, on Channel 13 (WVEC) discussing the changes! http://www.13newsnow.com/news/education/navigating-changes-to-the-fafsa/328853705
Bonnie and our Program Director, Cheryl Jones, also appeared on HearSay with Cathy Lewis to discuss the changes. The full episode is available here: http://www.hearsay.org/post/Future-of-FAFSA.aspx.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation and their unwavering support, ACCESS established a $25,000 scholarship to be awarded to one Scholar each year.
We awarded the scholarship for the first time at this year’s Scholarship Awards Luncheon to Israel Guerrero, a Churchland High School graduate. He will receive $6,250 annually for four years, for a total scholarship amount of $25,000. Israel will attend Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall.
Congratulations, Israel and thank you again to the Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation for your continued support! Learn more about our partnership with CBWCF here.
Two of our scholarship winners, Destiny Cobb and Tiara Benson, attended the "Beating the Odds" Summit at the White House with ACCESS Advisor Mary Carter Scott on July 19.
The summit, hosted by Reach Higher, brought together more than 130 college-bound, high school graduates from the class of 2016 from all over the country for a celebratory event with First Lady Michelle Obama. Throughout the day, the students participated in workshops and panels led by the U.S. Department of Education, author and BridgeEdU CEO Wes Moore and other leaders in K-12 and post-secondary education.
On June 24, we proudly honored more than 180 high school graduates from across South Hampton Roads and Northampton County at our annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon! Each student received a scholarship of at least $5,000, for a grand total of $950,000, to help them achieve their post-secondary dreams.
Thank you to the more than 650 attendees and to all of our sponsors who helped make our event a great success: Joan and Macon Brock, Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation, Old Dominion University, Tidewater Community College, Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk State University, Capital One, Mode5, Virginia Tech and Longwood University!
If you couldn't make the event, watch the presentation, along with interviews with students, donors and ACCESS staff on our Facebook page!
In order to continue to effectively communicate with our network of students, parents, alumni and others, we've partnered with txtsignal, a bulk text messaging service recognized as a “Top 50 Provider” by the Common Short Code Administration! As communication tools continue to evolve, ACCESS wants to ensure our students are aware of the critical application deadlines, financial information, events and other information they need. Txtsignal is another great resource for us to guarantee these important messages are delivered!
Want to learn more about how txtsignal works? Check them out here: http://txtsignal.com/.
ACCESS Announces $10,000 Partnership with Kam Cares Foundation for Scholarships for Maury High School Students
On May 28, ACCESS announced a partnership with Kam Cares Foundation, established by Norfolk Native and Seattle Seahawk Kam Chancellor, to offer $10,000 for scholarships for two Maury High School seniors graduating in June 2016. The scholarships, worth $5,000 each, will be managed by ACCESS and awarded at our Annual Student Awards Luncheon on June 24, 2016. The partnership announcement was made at the 7th Annual Bam Bam’s Spring Jam Memorial Day Cookout.
Take a look at the coverage of the announcement on WAVY TV here!
We're so proud of our ACCESS runners and helpers who braved the weather on Cinco de Mayo to participate in J&A Racing's Corporate 5k!
Mindy finished in 27 minutes and the rest of the team came in at 30 minutes! Great job, team!
On April 26, more than 1,400 students from across Hampton Roads gathered for “National Signing Day” to celebrate their commitment to higher education. “College I’m In!” was one of hundreds of events taking place across the nation as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s #ReachHigher initiative.
Thank you to our guests Gilbert T. Bland, Council Member for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3), Dr. Ellen Neufeldt, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services at Old Dominion University and our emcee, Shaggy from Z104 for their participation and support!
Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors who have made the commitment to higher education!
For the first time ever on April 16, cast members from A Different World gathered on a college campus for an intimate discussion exploring the importance of higher education and the value of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in both their historic and current roles.
The event, sponsored by SunTrust Bank and titled, “It IS A Different World: College Changes EVERYTHING!” benefited both ACCESS College Foundation and Norfolk State University’s (NSU) Honors College.
Thank you to the cast, our sponsors and everyone who had a role in putting the event together! We hope the event inspired local students to follow their dreams of pursuing a higher education and demonstrated the impact post-secondary success can have on a student’s future.
To view more photos from the event, please visit our Facebook page.
Check out our Upcoming Events tab for dates and locations. ACCESS' early college awareness program motivates students in grades 7 and 8 to pursue higher education. Our goal is to educate families about financial aid options and help students to explore their college and career interests.
Bonnie B. Sutton, President and CEO of ACCESS College Foundation explains the importance of filing your FAFSA form by the February 15th deadline.
Click link to video below:
Register to race or join us by volunteering at the ACCESS College Foundation water stop during the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon and Anthem Shamrock Half-Marathon!
Fundraise for ACCESS and win prizes as you Help Change Lives, Families and Communities – Because College Changes EVERYTHING!
CLICK HERE to check out the ACCESS Team's Shamrock fundraising page!
For more information on how you can get involved contact Sarah Bevier at (757) 962-6113 or SBevier@accesscollege.org
For the full schedule of Shamrock Marathon Weekend events and more information,