State of Florida

The College Reach-Out Program (CROP) is a statewide program created in 1983 by the Florida Legislature under section 1007.34, Florida Statutes. The statute was designed to further the legislature’s intent of increasing the number of students successfully completing a postsecondary education. The primary objective of CROP is to recruit low-income, educationally-disadvantaged students in grades 6-12 and concentrate its efforts on motivating and preparing them to attend college and complete their postsecondary education. Without intervention, these students would be unlikely to seek admission to a postsecondary institution. No other state administers a program that targets this particular population.

An estimated 180,000 students have been served by CROP since the program was initiated. In 2012-2013, 1,550 new students joined the program, and a total of 4,170 students were served. The approximate cost was $234 per student for the project year.

CROP repeatedly demonstrates a positive return on the state’s investment in the program. In accordance with the Florida Department of Education’s mission, CROP’s provision of quality services results in high student achievement. CROP’s philosophy involves providing a mixture of academic and psychosocial support, generating greater levels of completion and transition for CROP students than those of a random sample of non-CROP students.

The College Reach-Out Program is funded by the Department of Education (DOE) through the Office of Postsecondary Education (College Reach-Out Program Annual Evaluation, February 2015).

Polk State College

The Polk State College, College Reach-Out Program meets September through June on the second Saturday of each month 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.at the Lakeland campus.

The components of the program are academic enrichment, residential visit, social-behavioral workshops, and field trips.

The Academic Enrichment component takes place in the state college setting and provides students an opportunity to study on campus. These activities include, ACT, SAT, and FSA test prep; creative writing; reading; math; vocabulary building; computer skill development; and career exploration.

The Heartland Consortium is comprised of three state colleges: Polk State College, Pasco-Hernando State College, and South Florida State College. Students from the three colleges attend joint workshops and the residential program together.

The Residential component gives students a realistic view of college life at St. Leo University in St. Leo, Florida. College Reach-Out students become college students for five days and reside in the dormitories. They tour the campus, and their stay allows them to interact with faculty, staff, and students. During their college stay, student activities include time management, dormitory experience, motivational speakers, reviewing admission requirements, financial aid, goal setting skills, and computer skills.

The Social/ Behavioral component aims to strengthen participants’ socialization process. The primary mission is to foster positive self-confidence in students by offering leadership development, interviewing skills, community service projects, communication skills, scholarship assistance, college application preparation, summer youth employment, and mentoring.

The Field Trip component gives students an opportunity to travel and to develop essential contacts within various institutions in the community at public/private colleges and universities, local businesses, cultural events, museums, and historic sites.

To qualify for the College Reach-Out Program, students must meet academic and economic guidelines.

To obtain an application and more information regarding the Polk State College, College Reach-Out Program, please contact the Director Sylvester Little at 863.669.2943 or slittle@polk.edu or his Administrative Assistant Shretha Arrington sarrington@polk.edu.