Buses Bring College to Kids

In an effort to get more high school students interested in college, the Houston Independent School District is partnering with the Sallie Mae Fund to bring a mobile college counseling office into urban neighborhoods. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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The Sallie Mae Fund announced a pledge of $1 million for the state of Texas. Some of that money will go toward a bus called the Success Express. HISD Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra says the bus is part of the college-bound culture the district is trying to develop.

"The Sallie Mae Fund is converting buses into counsellor's offices on wheels and filling them with information about preparing for college, applying to college and paying for college. These buses then go into the neighborhoods where students and their families live and help to put a college education within their reach."

The Sallie Mae buses travel all over the country, but HISD will keep one right here in Houston all the time. Some of the pledged funding will also go toward an early-college-awareness program for sixth-grade students. Lori Bricker with the Texas Education Agency says the goal is to have thousands more students enrolling in college over the next few years.

"It's not just about the money. It's about the awareness, it's about the education that all of the parents and community leaders are gaining just by understanding how important it is for their students to go to college."

Both the bus and the college-awareness program are aimed at helping lower-income, minority and first-generation college students get information about what it takes both academically and financially to graduate with a college degree. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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