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New Center Opens to Help Students, Families Plan for College

Teens prepare for college at the libraryDid you know students need to be taking the right courses to prepare for college entrance as early as the ninth grade or that students can sign up for the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program as early as the eighth grade?

It’s never too early to start planning for college and it’s always a challenge. Students and parents can find the latest resources to help plan, pay and apply for college by visiting the newly opened Plan4College Center at the Shawnee Public Library, 101 N. Philadelphia.

Monday, October 6, at 6 p.m. a special program titled “GEAR UP for College” is planned to introduce the Center and provide helpful information. The program is free and pre-registration is NOT required.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the Shawnee Public Library staff for opening this Plan4College Center in their community. Their dedication in providing these services to the community is to be commended,” said Oklahoma State System of Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Early planning for college is important. We look forward to seeing many students and their families visit the Plan4College Center to take those first steps toward college success.”

The Plan4College Center offers students and families a one-stop shop for their college information needs. The site hosts a computer dedicated solely for college planning. Visitors are just one click away from learning about courses to take and grades to make, exploring colleges, finding a career, filling out college applications and applying for financial aid. Also, a knowledgeable person is available at the center to sit down one-on-one with students and families to answer their questions as well as help them determine the steps they need to take in order to create personalized plans for college.

The Shawnee library’s Plan4College Center will be open during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

The Plan4College Center is made possible through Oklahoma GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a federally funded program, administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, designed to better prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs and scholarships for students, professional development activities for educators and college access information for students and parents.

For more information about the Plan4College Center, contact Lisa Lempges information services manager at Shawnee Public Library, 275-6353.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with state GEAR UP grants totaling $20.5 million in August 1999 and $20.6 million in August 2005. The grants have been matched by more than $47 million from state and partner resources. With the addition of the 2005 multi-year, federal grant, Oklahoma’s GEAR UP program will ultimately receive more than $45.6 million in federal funds by 2011. GEAR UP receives 49 percent of total funding from the federal government and 51 percent from other organizations.

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