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Gates Foundation grant to help Atlanta students find best college fit

Atlanta high school students will receive extra college admission support thanks to grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grants were announced Tuesday, with recipients including Atlanta Public Schools, Achieve Atlanta and the KIPP Foundation. 

High school counselors at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate will receive training to help students prepare for and enroll in college using a $499,000 grant received by the charter school network’s foundation. 

The KIPP Foundation will spend the money providing training and tools to counselors at 30 of its high schools in 22 cities. KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, a public charter high school located in west Atlanta, is among the KIPP schools where counselors will receive additional support through the grant. 

The grant will pay for counselors and other school leaders to receive training aimed at helping their students boost college-entrance exam scores, helping students select a college that matches their needs and helping students enroll in and begin college after high school graduation. 

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Achieve Atlanta, an organization that aims to help APS students complete college, also received a grant worth $532,000. The money will be used to support school counselors and staff as well as to develop a digital tool that will help students find the college that best meets their needs. 

A data team will create a tool that identifies which colleges match a student’s academic performance as well as fit his or her financial needs plus offer the right programs, location and campus culture. 

APS also won its own $90,000 grant to provide training to school counselors and college advisors. 

“Creating a college-going culture and match and fit are critical components of our district’s college readiness strategy,” said Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, in a written statement. 

KIPP also praised the opportunity to help students using the grant money. 

“This grant will enable so many of our regions to learn from one another and from educators outside of KIPP as they work to improve academic and college counseling practices and will ensure more young people are graduating from high school prepared for success in college and careers,” said Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation, in a written statement.

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