MANSFIELD – Designed to help African American and other students in Mansfield, a new partnership was announced between Mansfield City Schools and OSU-Mansfield.
Graduate Pathways to Success was introduced at the Mansfield NAACP Freedom Banquet Oct. 27 by Norman Jones, interim dean and director of OSU-Mansfield.
“The plan is to identify a cohort of interested students by their junior year at Senior High and then build relationships among that cohort, teachers at Senior High, and professors at Ohio State Mansfield,” Jones said. “Ideally the students will get to take at least one Ohio State course through College Credit Plus during their senior year of high school, and then they will be ready to hit the ground running when they come to Ohio State Mansfield full-time to pursue their education licensure.”
The opportunity will likely be a life-changing one for many area families, according to Brian Garverick, superintendent of Mansfield City Schools. He created the plan — GPS for short — which was quickly accepted by Jones.
“In short, 27 students selected for GPS as eighth-graders will earn an associate degree in health technology — at no cost to them — by taking college courses in conjunction with Senior High classes,” Garverick said.
Most of those GPS courses are planned to be taught at the high school. When the students graduate, they will receive two-year associate degrees at the same time they are awarded Senior High diplomas.
“All current eighth-graders have an opportunity to apply to be part of next year’s GPS cohort,” Garverick said. “Selection of the group that will begin college courses next year will again be based on testing and interviews.”
At the Mansfield NAACP banquet, Jones said OSU-Mansfield has doubled the diversity of its student body over the past eight years, and that the university is moving forward with an initiative to make college more affordable.
“For students who might otherwise struggle to pay for a college education, we are just beginning a program for low- and moderate-income students at Ohio State Mansfield who are from Ohio, qualify for federal Pell Grants, and have shown they can be successful in college by completing one full-time semester on our campus. The university has committed up to $3 million a year to cover the cost of the tuition and fees for such students,” said Jones. “Come show us for just one semester that you have it takes, and the rest of your college education is free. This is an unprecedented opportunity.”