Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 1, 2007

Whitworth to Host "I'm Going to College Day" March 15 for Area Sixth-Graders

Sixth-grade students from Meadow Ridge Elementary School in Mead will attend Whitworth College on March 15 for "I'm Going to College Day." In recent weeks, the students have been studying career choices, exploring college options, and learning about financial aid. Their hard work has earned them the opportunity to become college students for a day. The aspiring undergraduates will be welcomed by Whitworth President Bill Robinson before taking part in classes, tours and other activities.

In hopes of encouraging children from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds to attend college, the I'm Going to College program, sponsored by Northwest Education Loan Association®, introduces college-preparation strategies and financial-aid programs to young students that can help them attend college.

"Whitworth is delighted to partner with Meadow Ridge and Northwest Education Loan Association to provide sixth graders a glimpse of college life and to help them begin to see college as part of their futures," says Wendy Olson, Whitworth director of financial aid. "The college's welcoming staff and faculty and its beautiful campus make Whitworth the ideal host for these students."

Early planning for college can increase the options available when it comes time to apply for admission. High-school courses and grades count when applying for college admission, but earning a college education requires building on knowledge and skills acquired much earlier. Studies have shown that the years from age 10 to 14 are a crucial turning point in a child's development. These are the years when children begin developing behavior patterns in education that can have lifelong consequences.

"Every child deserves the chance to go to college," says Karen deVilla, executive director of NELA. "By sponsoring this program, we help children and their parents understand that financial-aid programs can make college affordable. The sooner families begin planning and preparing, the better chance they have of making higher education a reality."

College graduates have higher average incomes and more career options than their peers who don't pursue higher education. I'm Going to College educates children about the benefits of a college degree and builds an understanding of the choices available for education and financial aid.

Headquartered in Seattle, Northwest Education Loan Association is a not-for-profit company that assists students and parents in planning for college and understanding financial aid by providing information, training and outreach activities. For 27 years, NELA has successfully administered the Federal Family Education Loan Program and guaranteed student loans against default, helping more than 811,000 students pursue higher education. For more information about NELA, visit www.nela.net.

In 2003, NELA opened the Center for Student Success in Seattle. A second NELA Center for Student Success opened in Portland, Ore., in 2004. These college-access centers provide free information, tools, counseling and expertise to build better futures through higher education. For additional information, visit www.centerforstudentsuccess.org.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Traci Stensland, associate director of financial aid, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4335 or tstensland@whitworth.edu.

Susan Busch, NELA client services, (509) 863-5584.

Danette Knudson, director of NELA initiatives and external relations, (206) 461-5491.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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