Rhodes State College Announces Ohio Reach Postsecondary Designation

Rhodes State College Announces Ohio Reach Postsecondary Designation

LIMA, Ohio, September 25, 2023 – Rhodes State College is proud to announce that it has been designated to receive the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). Chancellor Randy Gardner awarded this prestigious designation to 28 campuses in Ohio, recognizing their exceptional commitment to supporting students with experience in foster care or kinship.

"I appreciate Rhodes State College for providing extra attention and support for Foster Youth-connected students by qualifying for the first class of colleges earning the Ohio Reach Post-Secondary Designation," said Ohio Chancellor Randy Gardner. "Students attending Rhodes State will have additional opportunities for success due to the college's intentional involvement in the lives and academic careers of its students."

The Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation is a testament to Rhodes State College's dedication to fostering the success of foster care-connected students. Ohio Reach, administered through the Ohio Children’s Alliance, provides vital resources to higher education institutions, child welfare agencies, and foster care alumni enrolled in higher education, ultimately empowering them to achieve academic success.

"Rhodes State College is proud to be selected by Chancellor Gardner to receive the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation. This designation recognizes the incredible work Rhodes State is doing to support our students who had experience in foster care or kinship and demonstrates the commitment our faculty and staff have to our students and their success," said Brendan Greaney, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Rhodes State College.

The Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation was established to create a network of professionals, advocates, and students across Ohio who are dedicated to supporting former foster youth on their path to higher education. It recognizes institutions that go above and beyond to provide the necessary support to students with foster care connections, similar to the Collegiate Purple Star designation for military-connected students.

Governor Mike DeWine commended the efforts of institutions like Rhodes State College, stating, "If they don't have a trusted adult to help guide them, some foster-connected youth may be especially attracted to schools with the Ohio Reach Postsecondary Designation knowing that they'll receive support, if needed. This extra support and guidance could make a meaningful difference and help a student continue along a successful path to live their version of the American dream."

Criteria for receiving the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation, recommended by the Ohio Reach Coalition with input from alumni of care through the Ohio Youth Action Board, include:

  • -A designated campus liaison
-Champions in various campus departments
-The ability to connect students to resources (basic needs, food, housing)
-Community-building opportunities for students
-Targeted outreach to students, and efforts made to identify and support them
-Expanding the eligibility of on-campus services
-Staff training on working with alumni of foster care
-Succession/transition planning
-Data collection

Additional recommended, but not required, criteria include year-round housing, career counseling, community leadership opportunities, and in-depth tutoring resources.

"Foster youth can face many challenges in their young lives," said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder. "These institutions are providing stability and a pathway to success that will help lift foster youth and propel them into reaching their full potential."

This designation takes effect immediately, and Rhodes State College remains committed to its mission of providing a supportive and inclusive educational environment for all students. More information about the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation can be found here.

Questions about the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation can be directed to Stephanie Batchelder, Director of Accommodative Services & First Year Programs, at batchelder.s@rhodesstate.edu.