The Houston Independent School District’s Class of 2015 has received almost $265 million in scholarship and financial aid offers, a record-breaking amount that surpasses last year’s total by $10 million.
Nearly all HISD high schools — 82 percent — saw increases in scholarship offers at the campus level, with the biggest boost at Scarborough High School, where scholarship offers jumped by nearly 1,000 percent, increasing from less than $200,000 last year to almost $2 million this year.
Record increases also were seen at Mount Carmel Academy, the Houston Academy for International Studies and Worthing and Booker T. Washington high schools.
“I am so proud of our students. They have worked incredibly hard and these scholarships are proof of a job well done,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “These kids are the reason we put such an emphasis on college readiness. It’s not enough to ensure our students do well in high school. We want to make sure they’re prepared and ready to succeed in college and beyond.”
The district continues to place a strong emphasis on college readiness and is committed to making sure all students have access to higher education. Preparation begins as early as elementary school with students and families encouraged to take charge of their education and begin learning about colleges, universities and careers.
As students move into high school, the preparations become more focused. In addition to various campus events designed to introduce students to various colleges, the district also holds an annual FAFSA —Free Application for Federal Student Aid — Day to help seniors and parents apply for financial aid.
Throughout the year, students and parents also are sent information on scholarships, financial aid and deadline reminders through Naviance, an online tool used by HISD to allow students and families to explore and apply to colleges, search scholarships, and review academic progress.
This fall, the district will continue to strengthen its college readiness efforts by deploying 28 new college success advisors to campuses across the district and doubling the size of the successful EMERGE program, which aims to identify low-income, high potential students and help them gain admission to and graduate from Tier 1 and Ivy League colleges and universities.
Funded by $8.5 million in grants from the Houston Endowment, both programs are expected to boost college attendance and completion rates by 20 percent over the next three years. The district also hopes to increase the number of HISD graduates attending a four-year college, the number of students who complete their freshman year and return for their sophomore year, and the number of scholarship and financial aid applications and awards — all by the same percentage.