Legislation Creates Pilot Program for College/Career Counselors

(KCPW News) Getting students more help with their college and career plans is the focus of one Democratic state lawmaker. A bill proposed by Representative Patrice Arent creates a pilot program that would put 18 interns in Utah schools to specifically help students with college admissions and scholarships. Arent says while high school guidance counselors normally do this type of work, they simply have too many other things to get done, having to serve more than 360 students per counselor.

“Those counselors can barely get through the day just having the time to register kids for school, to get them in the right classes, to deal with the discipline problems. And being able to go through the admissions and scholarship process and learning about that and making sure you’re up to speed on that is complicated,” she says.

The three-year pilot program would employ interns who are pursuing a master’s degree in guidance counseling, giving them specialized training.

The Park City School District has already implemented such a program. Scholarship Adviser Nancy Michalko says students there need the extra help.

“I do have kids every single day who say to me, ‘I can’t go to college, Ms. Michalko, I can’t.’ And then I start to uncover the reasons why, and it’s truly – they don’t have any idea how to fill out the paperwork or how to get prepared to enter the colleges here, so we spend a great deal of time working on that,” says Michalko.

If approved by the legislature, the pilot program would cost $800,000  a year. House Bill 65 was approved by the House Education Committee Friday, and now goes to the House floor.

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