Daily News

AIC Hosts Inaugural Pathway to Higher Education Forum

SPRINGFIELD — A new partnership between American International College (AIC) and two community groups working to promote access to higher education is designed to benefit families in Springfield by empowering parents to support their children’s academic success.

AIC joined hands with the Coalition of Experienced Black Educators (COEBE) and the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership to organize a recent community forum called “Parents as Partners on the Pathway to Higher Education,” reflecting the college’s values of access and community. The event, initiated by state Rep. Bud Williams, equipped dozens of families with valuable insight into the higher-education process and the crucial role parents play in their children’s college experience.

During the forum, keynote speaker and AIC President Hubert Benitez emphasized the importance of removing barriers to higher education and making it accessible to everyone, irrespective of their background or financial situation.

“AIC continues to fulfill its promise of working collaboratively with its community members and partners to increase awareness of the value of an education and to create structured pathways for students to pursue a higher-education degree,” Benitez said. “Collaborating with COEBE is another example of how members of our community can work together to continue to promote equality of opportunity and support the social mobility of the people of Mason Square and the city of Springfield.”

AIC was recently recognized as a top performer for social mobility by the 2022-23 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. AIC’s ranking tied for number 69, placing second in Massachusetts in the report’s National College category, behind only UMass Boston.

Although the cost to obtain a college degree may be perceived as a barrier to higher education, the forum participants learned that the actual expense is frequently lower than the published ‘sticker price’ because students often obtain financial assistance through grants and scholarships. At AIC, 100% of students receive some form of financial aid.

The value of obtaining higher education was further supported by a recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, which revealed that young Americans without a college degree are unlikely to find economic stability and are more likely to be stuck in low-earning jobs than not by age 30.