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Great Lakes recognizes local educator as College Access champion

FRANKLIN FURNACE — Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp. has announced that Mindy Clark is a College Access Champion. Dedicated to promoting college access to her students at Green Local Schools in Franklin Furnace, Clark helps her students change their lives for the better through higher education.

“I feel that I have the necessary information to help my students to be successful after high school by supplying them with the information needed for college,” Clark said. “I want my students to not only attend college, but to experience the entire college atmosphere.”

Clark is one of 25 Ohio award recipients who received a total of $118,000 as part of Great Lakes second annual College Access Champion Award program.

This year’s program sought applications from teachers, librarians, counselors and administrators in the 457 high schools designated as serving low-income communities throughout Ohio. As a College Access Champion, each award recipient received up to $5,000 applied as a full or partial payment to their outstanding federal student loans.

“The College Access Champion Award recognizes educators who make the biggest impact on student decisions to go to college,” said Richard D. George, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes.

“Our College Access Champions are passionate about opening the doors to higher education for students who grow up in less-privileged circumstances or who may be the first in their family to attend college. This award honors those who are building brighter futures for their students and their communities — and continuing to move Ohio forward.”

Recent studies show that disadvantaged students who are the least likely to attend postsecondary education are the very ones who stand to gain the greatest economic benefit from attending college — up to 30 percent more in lifetime earnings over high school graduates from similar backgrounds. By contrast, students who were considered more likely to attend college earned 10 percent more than similar students who didn’t pursue a higher education.

This year’s College Access Champions demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in the lives of their students.

By going above and beyond their typical call of duty, these award winners not only show their students that college is possible, but help them succeed in the transition to higher education as well.