In just a few weeks, high school graduates across America will head off to college. Making sure that low-income, first-generation, and minority students from the Erie School District are among them is the subject of an informational session conducted by the Gaining Options for College (GO College) program on Wednesday, June 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Gannon University’s Robert H. Morosky Academic Center.

GO College, a collaborative venture of the Erie School District, Gannon University and the GE Foundation, is a national data-driven initiative that brings communities together to increase college access and success through academic enrichment, college exposure and service-learning.

The session, hosted by Keith Taylor, Ph.D., president of Gannon University, brings together federal and community agencies and educators to review the process and to begin a conversation to expand the efforts put forth by GO College and other educational initiatives.

Gannon participates in the program by providing college mentors to the three Erie School District high schools–Central Tech High School, East High School, and Strong Vincent High School–that participate in the program. The mentors assist high school students with college enrollment, as well as providing more intensive services to specific participating student groups. A range of activities, college fairs and tours, tutoring, workshops on financial aid and individual counseling, is made available to the students enrolled in the program throughout their high school careers. In 2013, 99 percent of seniors at all the high schools applied to college.

Gannon’s participation on the GO College program, which is coordinated by the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Opportunity in Education, is facilitated by the University’s Erie-Gannon Alliance to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability (Erie-GAINS) initiative. Erie- GAINS is a long-term, mutually beneficial community initiative designed to expand the University’s efforts to support the common good of the neighborhoods surrounding the campus. Points of emphasis for Erie- GAINS programming include education, health and wellness, business and the economy, environmental sustainability and quality of life issues.