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Alabama Access for Higher Education Center at Bevill State

February 27, 2014

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded an $119,870 grant to Bevill State Community College for establishment of the Alabama Access for Higher Education (AAHE) Center.

The AAHE Center is designed to increase the educational attainment of students in Alabama schools and to break down barriers to participation in higher education. Initially serving K-12 public schools in Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, Walker, and Winston counties, the program has grown to include schools in Franklin, Hale, and Talladega counties for a total of sixteen schools.  The AAHE Center awards competitive two-year “Access” grants to fund activities that promote and encourage students to consider college, experience careers and seek financial aid such as student grants.

Activities include, but are not limited to, field trips and campus visits, business alliances, parent meetings, college and career fairs, utilization of career exploration software and other media, peer speakers, and visits to schools and businesses. These activities will help students and their parents explore college opportunities and career possibilities as well as demystify the college experience while building confidence and self-esteem.

Each public secondary school in these Alabama counties will be eligible to submit a grant proposal for consideration on a competitive basis for participation in AAHE Center. To assist in grant preparation, AAHE staff will conduct grant workshops for all eligible high schools in the service area. In addition, staff development for school grantees and a conference will be available to participating schools.

“As a rural institution in Alabama, the College understands the limitations that many students have to educational opportunities and advance training,” said Bevill State President Dr. Anne McNutt. “However, it is imperative for the future of our state and the Appalachian region that we are able to compete in a global economy. The AAHE Center will provide an avenue for students to receive those opportunities."

Ronica Raines has been appointed to serve as the Director of the AAHE Center beginning January 15 and will work directly with principals, counselors, and teachers at the schools.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing and transportation. For more information on Bevill State’s AAHE Center, contact Ronica Raines at or (205)387-0511, extension 5827.


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