The Chapel Hill-based founder of a national college advising network was honored at the White House Friday.
Nicole Hurd, CEO of the College Advising Corps, was named a “Champion of Change for College Opportunity.” The award recognizes those whose work improves access to high-quality education. She and 10 other recipients of the award were invited to the White House on Friday.
The College Advising Corps now has nearly 600 trained college counselors in high schools across the country. The advisers are recent college graduates sponsored by their alma maters to serve in public schools with large low-income populations. They give students help applying for admission and financial aid, and they coach them on interviews and entrance test preparation.
Hurd said in an interview that the honor is a moment of celebration for the corps plus the recognition of enormous work ahead. “There’s 1.4 million low-income high school seniors every year in this country,” she said. “The reality is there’s still a long way to go in making sure every student has a postsecondary opportunity.”
In an environment where the national student-to-counselor ratio is 450-to-1, the young advisers this year helped students submit 322,000 college applications across the United States.
North Carolina schools have the highest concentration of advisers from the corps – 106 around the state. They are sponsored by Davidson College, Duke University, N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill.
“North Carolina is a model state for us,” Hurd said.