More college assistance coming to Chester and Lancaster Counties

More college assistance coming to Chester and Lancaster Counties

LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - College Advising Corps (CAC) is now coming to South Carolina to help students in Chester and Lancaster Counties. South Carolina makes the 16th state where the services will be used.

Students in Chester and Lancaster cried out for more help when getting into college. Those cries have now been answered.

"College is still the best investment anybody can bank on themselves," CAC founder and CEO Nicole Hurd said. "So we are here to say not only is it affordable, but if we get you the right school you can have meaningful credentials and your dreams can really come true."

Chester County School Superintendent Angela Bain says high school counselors can get overwhelmed. In some schools, there is one counselor to every 500 students.

"There's just not enough time to do everything that they need to do as part of their normal jobs," the superintendent said. "And college advising is part of their job."

The Duke Endowment and the J. Marion Sims Foundation of Lancaster donated $2.2 million for this assignment. The money will be used to pay for recent college graduates to help students in Lancaster and Chester Counties high schools. They will give high school students assistance in filling out college applications and financial aid forms.

Students say having a near peer helping them navigate through the college application process will make the difference.

"It was a couple of times where I got frustrated," Great Falls High School senior Cayce Reed said. "And I was like, 'I don't know what college to apply to. I don't know how to fill out this form.'"

The program will start in August. It is geared toward first college generation students and students living in high poverty, but the assistance will be offered to all students. The goal is to have students complete college and have a career.

"The earnings increase, and that makes for a better life for you and your family," Bain said.

The counselors will get paid about $25,000 a year plus benefits. They will also receive a stipend of $5,813 to be used toward student loans or grad school.

Last year CAC helped about 160,000 students around the country get into college and got them about $1.1 billion worth of financial aid.

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