Center for Access and Opportunity

About the Center

St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud School District are working in collaboration to address the academic underachievement, low high school graduation rates, and poor college participation of underrepresented students. With St. Cloud State University serving as the lead institution in this partnership, each institution brings resources, experiences, and programs to bear on the problems of the academic achievement gap. Funding is provided by Minnesota State.


The purpose of St. Cloud Access and Opportunity Center is to improve academic achievement, improve high school graduation rates, increase rigorous college preparatory course taking behavior, and increase post-secondary participation among underrepresented students in grades 9-12 in District 742.


Target Population

The St. Cloud Access and Opportunity Center targets 9th-12th graders who are underrepresented in higher education, students from low-income families, students of color, students from immigrant background, and from first-generation college families.

Plan of Operation

This project revolves around providing services and programs to students in their schools, and to the students and their families in community settings and on the campuses of the local public institutions of higher education (St. Cloud State University). Academic Advising Teams and university-based professionals work with students, public school staff and parents.

Academic Advisers

The Academic Advisers provide the core services of the St. Cloud Access and Opportunity Center. Academic Advisers are assigned to grade levels 9, 10, 11 and 12 in each school. In addition, each adviser works closely with the students' instructors and counselors to identify needed support services. If students move to alternative learning centers, academic advisers continue to work with them at these sites. These advisers coordinate the provision of services (tutoring, mentoring, supplemental instruction) with other school and college personnel responsible for offering these activities.

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Academic Support Services

Academic support services are available to the students to enhance their chances for academic success. Support services include tutoring, mentoring, counseling, additional help sessions, and computerized resources. Project personnel also develop a study skills course and integrate these skills into other courses. Furthermore, cohorts or learning teams will be formed so students will have companions similarly situated so as not to feel isolated or alienated. These students are further supported with mentoring services from university and college students. Another key part of this program entails career development and exploration. A number of other extracurricular activities, namely cultural enrichment activities, summer programs and employment opportunities, are designed for this program.

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