Community leaders unite for ISAC conference to support college and career readiness

Michelle Stipp, Director of Financial Aid Services at Roosevelt University presents during It Takes a Village to Retain a Student, a breakout interest session at the 2018 College Changes Everything Conference   Chris Pierson, ISAC

The recent Illinois Student Assistance Commission's (ISAC) "College Changes Everything" conference brought together more than 500 educators, government, business and non-profit leaders to share their insights on how to better support college and career readiness in Illinois students. 

The conference highlighted how leaders can help those students who choose not to pursue college even though they are afforded the opportunity for college counseling as well as financial aid. 

Mandy Savitz-Romer, director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education master's program in Prevention Science and Practice, addressed the issue in her keynote speech. 

Savitz-Romer told attendees that helping students who either choose not to go to college or drop out of college is not as simple as it might seem. She explained college counseling, college fairs and financial aid are important, but not enough, especially for those who are the first in their family to attend college. 

Mandy Savitz-Romer  

“If we can’t do more, we may have to do different,” Savitz-Romer said in her presentation. 

She also discussed her research on adolescent development,  what she calls “constellation of obstacles,” which keeps students from college despite having many external supports.

“There is a big difference between wanting to go to college, believing you deserve to be there and can succeed, and someone telling you that they want you to go to college,” she said in her speech.

The conference also included the presentation of the 2018 College Changes Everything Champion Award, which was given to Vermillion Advantage. 

Attendees also participated in a luncheon panel discussion with students and breakout sessions. 

ISAC provides educational information and financial aid to Illinois students and their families through scholarships and grant programs to make college accessible and affordable.

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