High School Students to Get ‘Roo Ready’ for College

UMKC program helps youth and their families access financial aid

Students at three urban high schools will get extra assistance in preparing for college, including help accessing the financial aid system, through a new program sponsored by the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Roo Ready” will provide support to students and their families from Center, East and Raytown high schools, with support from an $84,500 College Access Challenge Grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

“The main purpose of the program is to increase the number of high school students from these schools who complete the FAFSA,” or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the national financial aid application form for prospective college students, said Bonita Butner, Ph.D., chair of and associate professor in the Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations division of UMKC’s School of Education.

To increase that rate, “Roo Ready” will sponsor school-wide FAFSA workshops, financial literacy workshops and career day activities, coordinated with existing college-prep activities already scheduled at each school.  In addition to the student activities, the program also will have parent-oriented events designed to support families as they complete and file the form.

“ROO Ready” focuses on ensuring student access to financial support by

  • providing information to students and families on post-secondary education benefits and opportunities;
  • providing information on financial literacy and debt avoidance and management;
  • sponsoring outreach activities to encourage greater numbers of students to enroll in and complete college;
  • assisting prospective and continuing students in the completion of the FAFSA; and
  • tracking student FAFSA completion.  

The program also will provide additional support to 100 students from the three schools. This support will include mentoring and tours of three different types of colleges:  a community college, a four-year public university and a four-year private college.

College Access Challenge Grants were created by Congress in 2007 to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. This year the Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded more than $1.6 million in federal funds to 21 groups to reach underserved students.

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