National Adult Education and Literacy Week Is Celebrated; Scholarships Are Available

Books (Shaun A. Pennington Photo)

During the week of Sept. 18-24, education advocates across the nation celebrated National Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) Week. AEFL Week raises public awareness about the need for and value of adult education and family literacy.

The goal is to increase financial and societal support for access to basic education programs for U.S. adults with low literacy, numeracy and digital skills.

According to the Coalition on Basic Adult Education, “In five years, nearly 80 percent of all job openings will require more than a high school degree. Adult education provides a significant opportunity to bridge the workforce supply-and-demand gap.”

Adult education and literacy programs are vital contributors to the strength and resilience of a community. These programs allow individuals to improve the quality of their lives by providing access to better employment opportunities or advancement, enhancing their skills, or increasing their earning potential.

As part of the week of activities, UVI CELL will be introducing a limited-time scholarship for adults to earn their high school diplomas.  The scholarship is funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), which is the largest federal investment in adult education and literacy.

The AEFLA program is authorized by Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and is administered by the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

“Adult education plays such a critical role in our community and across the world as literacy rates are tied to both the societal and economic factors,” said Suzanne Darrow-Magras, Ph.D., director of UVI CELL. “In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the 2010 census showed that 30% of adults do not have a high school diploma, (that’s 24,000 virgin Islanders) while the national average is 12%. High school graduates earn $10,000 more than those without their diplomas.”

“We’re hoping to level the playing field for these individuals while building a better-trained workforce and a stronger economy,” said Dr. Magras.

The online high school diploma is being offered in partnership with Penn Foster High School, a leader in online and blended learning programs.  Penn Foster is regionally accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Although online, students enrolled in the program will have computer lab access and tutoring services through UVI CELL.  Though there are no income requirements to participate, scholarships will be available for a limited time.  To participate, candidates must be residents of the Virgin Islands, be officially withdrawn from high school, and take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE).

To apply for the Online High School Scholarship, visit

Questions can be directed to UVI CELL at 693-1100 or by emailing