Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, has established a new program to improve the college readiness of low-income students in the city and to increase diversity on its campus. According to the latest Department of Education data, Black and Hispanics make up 20 percent of the 2,900-member undergraduate student body at the university. But Blacks and Hispanics are about 70 percent of the city’s population. About 40 percent of the city’s population lives in poverty.
The new program will be run in cooperation with the Olivet Boys & Girls Club. Any member of the club will be eligible to participate in a four-year program of tutoring, mentoring, and other activities aimed at preparing teenagers for college. The teenagers will be coached on navigating the college application process and on finding sources of financial aid. In addition, as many as 20 students in the program each year will receive a full tuition scholarship to attend Alvernia University.