Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 3, 2009

Whitworth to Host I’m Going to College Day March 17 for Area Sixth-Graders

Sixth-grade students from Meadow Ridge Elementary School in Mead will attend Whitworth University on Tuesday, March 17 for "I’m Going to College Day." In recent weeks, students from Meadow Ridge have been studying career choices, exploring college options, and learning about financial aid. Their efforts have earned them the opportunity to become college students for a day. The aspiring undergraduates will arrive on campus at 10 a.m. and will spend the day taking part in classes, tours and activities.

In hopes of encouraging children from diverse socioeconomic and educational backgrounds to attend college, the I’m Going to College program, sponsored by the 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 be able to partner with Meadow Ridge Elementary School and the Northwest Education Loan Association in providing sixth graders a glimpse of college life and to help them begin to see college as part of their future," says Wendy Olson, Whitworth director of financial aid.

Early planning for college can increase the options available when students start applying 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 ages 10 to 14 are a critical turning point in a child's development. These are the years when children begin developing behavior patterns in education that can reap 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 do not 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.

The Seattle-based 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 university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


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

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University (509) 777-3729 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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