BY ISN STAFF | April 19, 2015
WHEELING, WV – Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) will host a summer academy to help high-achieving, low-income high school students from Cristo Rey high schools make an easier transition to college. Titled the “Cristo Rey Summer Academy (CRSA),” the program will help high school juniors from Cristo Rey high schools to: get expert help in navigating the college application process; learn strategies to help them successfully transition to a higher education institution; and have an experience of college life including classes, residence life, student-faculty interaction and more—on WJU’s vibrant campus
Cristo Rey high schools are Catholic, college preparatory schools serving students from low-income families in over 25 urban regions across the U.S. The schools partner with local corporations who employ the students, helping them earn their tuition. There are 28 nationwide Cristo Rey high schools and minority students account for 96 percent of their student population.
The 10-day of program is estimated to have a value of $1,500/week but will be offered at no cost to approximately 45 qualifying students. WJU sophomore Uneeke Ferguson, a graduate of Cristo Rey High School in Baltimore, attended a WJU academy two years ago. “It was a real eye-opener,” she recalls. “The admissions process can be daunting and transitioning to university life is also a challenge. The Academy was a significant help on both fronts. And the experience sold me on attending WJU.”
“Wheeling Jesuit is the perfect place to hold a Cristo Rey Summer Academy,” said the Rev. Denis Donoghue, S.J., WJU’s associate vice president for academic affairs and a CRSA planner. “We are a national leader in serving high-achieving, low-income students. It’s not just about college access. We want to help each and every student succeed in finding the right college to attend.”
Ninety-one percent of WJU students receive institutional support. On average, 33 percent of each new class receive Pell Grants and other government need-based financial aid, nearly double the average of other private institutions. Some 64 percent of those students graduate, significantly higher than the 59 percent national average. WJU was named the Highest Rated College in West Virginia by the U.S. News & World Report College Guide in Sept. 2014, the 18th straight year it has held that distinction.
Founded in 1954, WJU is the youngest Jesuit institution of higher learning in the nation and the only Catholic university in the state of West Virginia. WJU is an Ignatian Solidarity Network 2014-2015 Institutional Member, sends students and staff to participate in ISN programs on a regular basis, and has partnered with ISN on numerous programs throughout the network’s ten-year history.