According to the 2018 ACT Condition of College and Career Readiness report, students who meet at least one underserved criterion (first-generation college student, low-income, or minority) tend to have lower college and career readiness levels than students who meet none of the criteria.
ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning has partnered with Univision, a Spanish-language broadcast television network, to increase college readiness and awareness in the Hispanic community. The overall goal of our partnership is to strengthen underrepresented communities, empower youth and their parents, and help remove barriers for making education equitable for all students and learners.
Univision hosts Parent Education Fairs around the country, bringing together an array of vendors that offer resources and planning to families. Four years ago, the first Fair in Phoenix started inside a school gym, and has grown more than 3,000 families attending this year. We attended the Fair held in Sacramento where there were clinics offered where students could receive one-on-one help from experts on how to fill-out the FAFSA application, assistance with which documents they need to transfer from a community college to a four-year institution, to what the current options available are for Dreamers. In Fresno, there were 8,000 families who attended, with nearly 50 school busses providing free transportation from surrounding areas. Some buses came from two hours away!
Along with my fellow ACT team members Juan Garcia and Maria Vasquez, I staffed booths this fall at the three fairs mentioned above. We met with students and their families to talk about ACT Academy , a free online learning tool and test practice program, English learner supports , applying for fee waivers , and other resources to empower students as they prepare to go to college. Juan also presented workshops in Spanish to families about financial aid, how to fill out college applications, the difference between two-year vs. four-year college, and information about standardized tests and why they matter.
When speaking with the students I was amazed with their determination and ferocity. An example is a seventh grade boy who walked up to the ACT booth (all by himself) and wanted to know what he can be doing now to prepare for the ACT. He had his future in sight, and was ready to work hard to achieve his dreams. I came away from the Parent Fairs with a renewed sense of pride about the work the Center is doing, and our partnership with Univision. There are so many intelligent, bright students, who, with the right resources and supports, will do amazing things in the future.