Introducing Ask Tassel
In early June, College Now launched a new virtual college and career access support for students of all ages called "Ask Tassel." Ask Tassel is a free college and career access hotline designed to help students and their families who have questions related to any area of postsecondary education, including college and career access advising, financial aid counseling, and scholarship and retention services.

With more questions than ever being raised about educational options and the best courses of action for students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ask Tassel was designed to provide an additional level of support for students and their families as they navigate their own educational journey in an uncertain environment.

Ask Tassel, named after the iconic graduation tassels on a mortarboard graduation cap, is designed to provide students with an extra virtual support during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Students can access Tassel by calling College Now’s main line at 216.241.5587, where they will directly speak to a College Now staff member who will connect them to an advisor,
or by texting the word TASSEL to 216.208.5866. When texting Ask Tassel, students will receive an automatic reply indicating that they will be connected with an advisor in the College Now Resource Center who will follow up with more detailed information for the student and help them schedule an appointment within one business day.

Students requiring immediate support are encouraged to call the hotline to speak with College Now promptly. Advisors will gather information from students including their name, school attended, and reason for outreach in order to provide them with the most personalized support possible.

Students of all ages, including high school, college, and adult students, and their families are encouraged to call or text Ask Tassel with any questions they may have about their postsecondary journeys. College Now advisors are equipped to help students develop career pathway plans; evaluate postsecondary and financial aid options; apply for scholarships and financial
aid; review financial aid packages; manage student loans and loan repayment plans; and more. Ask Tassel is available to students and individuals from any location.

For more information, students and families can visit .

You can view recent press coverage of Ask Tassel, and all of College Now's services, on our website .
Celebrating the Robert Patrick Benko Scholarship
Bob Benko deeply believed in the benefits of education as a pathway to personal development and a better life for himself and others. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Bob unfortunately passed away at the very young age of 31 while completing his Ph.D. in economics.

To honor his love of learning and education, his friend John Sullivan Wilson recently created the Robert Patrick Benko Scholarship to support an outstanding LGBTQ high school student or ally who worked with a College Now advisor while in high school, has high financial need, and will pursue a four-year college degree. This was also with the involvement of Bob’s family.

This is the second scholarship that John has created at College Now. Several years ago, John established a fund at The Cleveland Foundation to provide renewable scholarships to College Now to award to academically qualified immigrants and first-generation US citizens who live in Greater Cleveland. He created this with his partner Lawrence Li. As with the Benko Scholarship, eligible students also must come from low-income backgrounds and pursue four-year college degrees. 

The timing of this new scholarship, which is the first scholarship at College Now to specifically recognize an LGBTQ student or ally who has specifically contributed to initiatives that support diversity and inclusion, could not be more appropriate. The month of June is known as “Pride Month,” to commemorate the Stonewall Riots and to recognize the impact that LGBTQ individuals have had and continue to have locally, nationally, and internationally.

College Now has just selected the first recipient of The Robert Patrick Benko Scholarship, who will matriculate to the Cleveland Institute of Art this fall. On behalf of all future Benko Scholarship recipients, College Now thanks John Wilson for his foresight and continued generosity. For those interested in making contributions to the fund at the Cleveland Foundation to support this scholarship, please click here .
College Now congratulates our college graduates!
Spring 2020 will loom large in everyone’s memories for years to come, but for those completing college, it will have a unique significance. College Now salutes our 100+ graduates in the class of 2020!

Two of our graduating pairs took a moment to reflect on their experiences. Damian and Michael worked together in the program for four years. “We did well together,” said Damian. Michael “helped me by answering questions I had about college and classes and things of that nature - among other things. He is a friend and a good help.” Michael agrees that the two have grown close. “I am proud to have seen his growth over the last four years and am excited for the future he created for himself,” says Michael.

Yasmine and Nancy also connected on both professional and personal topics over the course of Yasmine’s college career. “Me and Nancy have built a very strong relationship that I can now call a friendship. I have enjoyed learning about her interesting life and allowing her into mine,” says Yasmine. Nancy says she benefited immensely from watching Yasmine’s growth from a reserved high school senior to a confident college grad. Both agree – even though Yasmine has crossed the finish line, this isn’t the end. “I can’t wait to continue our pair and peer relationship for many years to come,” Nancy states. 

About his mentor, his peers, and the program, Damian says it all. “They really care. It was a pleasure to be a part of this group, program, and this pair.” Thank YOU, Damian, Yasmine, and all of our students, for letting us be a part of your journeys!
College Now stands with the community in declaring racism a public health crisis
Earlier this month, College Now shared with our constituents our commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement and to the greater Cleveland community in declaring racism a public health crisis. College Now is proud to join the Greater Cleveland Partnership and over 20 other local organizations in taking action to undo the structural racism present in our community.

You can read College Now's full statement on our website. Also included on our website is a list of anti-racist resources and supports, which has been compiled and frequently updated by College Now staff. We encourage you to take some time to explore these resources and to share widely. This is work we all need to do and to truly commit to doing. It is a lifelong process and one that we all must take personal responsibility for. Thank you for joining us in this work – you are helping to make our organization and our community a more just and equitable place.  
Ready to change a life? Start with yours - join AmeriCorps
The AmeriCorps team at College Now works with the College Now Mentoring Program, the Adult Programs team, and advisors in our local high schools to guide students of all ages through postsecondary exploration, preparation, and completion. College Now is seeking AmeriCorps volunteers for in-school advising placement, as well as for the Adult Programs team. In addition to helping students succeed, Members receive a stipend and an education award. Service terms last from August through June.

If you are interested in making an impact and helping students connect to college, contact Jennylee Gandarilla and request an application today! If you know you are interested in serving specifically with high school advising or specifically with the Adult Programs team, make sure to mention that in your application.
Support College Now with Amazon Smile
Are you shopping online now more than ever? Here’s a great way to benefit College Now while staying safe at home!
  1. Simply visit Amazon Smile and log into your account.
  2. If this is your first time on the site, select College Now as your charitable organization.
  3. 0.5% of your eligible purchases will be donated to College Now.
  4. Thank you for your support!
College Now Greater Cleveland
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