Student Voice Team receives support for college-ready work

LEXINGTON — A $40,000 grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board will support work by the  Student Voice Team to define what it really means for high school seniors to be college ready.

The grant is the second the team has received from the Youth Advisory Board, a cohort of 30 State Farm youth leaders. The Student Voice Team’s proposal was one of just 63 national winners the board selected from 750 submissions. An earlier award supported the team’s College Tripwires Report, a student-led analysis of the barriers Kentucky students face in making the transition to postsecondary education. That work has been presented more than 40 times to policymakers and advocates at the local, state and national levels.

The Tripwires report led to the development of $3 million worth of public service announcements, produced in partnership with Gear-Up Kentucky, to raise student awareness of FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It also spurred the creation of the Powerball Promise Campaign, a student-led effort that resulted in legislative approval of an additional $14 million in funding over the next two years for need-based college grants and scholarships.

The recent grant will support the Student Voice Team’s plan to survey and talk with hundreds of Kentucky high school seniors and college undergraduates about what it means to be college ready. The work is being led by Sahar Mohammadzadeh, a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington who has been engaged with the team since she was in 8th grade.

The Student Voice Team work is an important part of the committee’s commitment to positive postsecondary outcomes, noted Brigitte Blom Ramsey, executive director of the Prichard Committee. “We are excited about this continuing work by students to support the committee’s objectives.”

The Kentucky Student Voice Team is a statewide organization of young people who are co-creating more just, democratic Kentucky schools & communities as research, policy & advocacy partners. From 2012 to 2021, KSVT was incubated at the Prichard Committee, a nonpartisan, citizen-led organization working to improve education in Kentucky for all ages.

About the State Farm Youth Advisory Board

Thirty students, ages 17-20, from across the United States comprise the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. They are charged with helping State Farm design and implement a $5 million-a-year signature service-learning initiative to address issues important to State Farm and communities across the United States.

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