Posts tagged ‘college and career ready’

March 12, 2014

Public universities want more ‘smart students who can pay’

by Grace

Public colleges and universities have shifted their financial aid priorities away from need-based to merit-based awards.  Low-income students are feeling the brunt of this change, but pressure on schools to admit only college-ready students and to raise revenue will probably cause this trend to continue.

Public colleges are turning away from their mission to offer access to an affordable college education for all students.

A ProPublica analysis of new data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that, from 1996 through 2012, public colleges and universities gave a declining portion of grants—as measured by both the number of grants and the dollar amounts—to students in the lowest quartile of family income. That trend continued even though the recession hit those in lower income brackets the hardest.

Universities feel the dual pressures of raising their revenues and ratings.

Why have public universities across the nation shifted their aid?

“For some schools, they’re trying to climb to the top of the rankings. For other schools, it’s more about revenue generation,” said Donald R. Hossler, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University at Bloomington.

To achieve those goals, colleges use their aid to draw wealthier students—especially those from out of state, who will pay more in tuition—or higher-achieving students, whose scores will give the colleges a boost in the rankings.

Private colleges have been using such tactics aggressively for some time. But in recent years, many public colleges have sought to catch up, doing what the industry calls “financial-aid leveraging.”

The math can work like this: Instead of offering, say, $12,000 to an especially needy student, a college might choose to leverage its aid by giving $3,000 discounts to four students with less need, each of whom scored high on the SAT and who together will bring in more tuition dollars than the needier student will.

Those discounts are often offered to prospective students as “merit aid.”

The student profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Ed article offered a clue to the reason many low-income students are losing out.  They are academically unprepared for college-level work.

Ms. Epps had a combined SAT score of 820 on mathematics and critical reading…

That score is below the College Board SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark, indicating a lack of “skills and knowledge that research demonstrates are critical to college and career readiness”.  The same low SAT scores that disqualify some students for merit aid also signal they are at high risk for dropping out of college.

Problem should be addressed before the college years.

The answer is not to give more need-based aid to students who are not prepared for college, but to do a better job of educating students to be college and career ready.  That is the job of K-12 education and community colleges.

Related:  Increasing college merit aid decreases enrollment of minority and low-income students (Cost of College)

June 22, 2012

New York high school graduation rates are up, but college readiness is down

by Grace

Statewide high school graduation rates in New York are up slightly, but a lower percentage of students are ready for college and career.

Aspirational performance measures (APM) are designed to assess college and career readiness by designating the percentage of students who “earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a mathematics Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”)”.

In the Lower Hudson Valley where I live, graduation rates are higher than the statewide average, with 84% of students graduating on time.  Our local high school showed a slight upward trend in college and career readiness last year.

From the New York State Education June 11, 2012 press release:

“New York’s overall graduation rate has improved, but nearly a quarter of our students still don’t graduate after four years,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. “And too many of those students who do graduate aren’t ready for college and careers.

“These numbers make clear that we need to continue to pursue aggressive reforms in our schools including a new, richer curriculum and implementation of the new teacher evaluation law in districts across the state.”

“Our students are competing globally,” Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said. “That competition demands that we keep improving our graduation rates. But it also demands that we close the achievement gap and make sure students who do graduate are ready for college and careers. Next school year, we’ll be implementing the Common Core standards, which will help more students achieve college and career readiness.

“But another key is keeping students engaged. Whatever that engagement takes – advanced math and science, Career and Technical Education programs, or a humanities focused courseload – we need to make sure all our students are on a path that prepares them for college and careers after they graduate from high school.”

In New York City, only 20.7% of students met the ELA/Math APM.

* Graduation rates measure the cohort of students who completed high school in four years.  APMs are reported as a percentage of the cohort who “earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a mathematics Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”)

Sources:

Related:  High school graduation goals do not include getting students ready for college

February 7, 2012

High school graduation goals do not include getting students ready for college

by Grace

Sadly, I was not surprised to learn that our local high school does not include “college or career ready” as part of its goals for graduates.

The district has adopted graduation goals. A graduate of the Eastchester Schools will be:

  • A respectful individual
  • A life-long learner
  • An effective communicator
  • A complex thinker and problem solver
  • A competent and responsible user of technology

Words have consequences.

At our local school only 59% of high school graduates are  “college or career ready” *.  This at an annual  cost of about $23,389 per pupil.

I prefer the Obama administration’s articulation of goals – much more specific, concrete, and measurable.

The goal for America’s educational system is clear: Every student should graduate from high school ready for college or a career.


Different school, similar problem
At a nearby school district, some parents are advocating that college preparation has to be front and center as goalsinstead of  other squishy priorities like global awareness, global responsibility, and 21st century skills.

* UPDATE:  I changed “college ready” to “college or career ready” to accurately reflect what was measured.  In other words, 59% were not prepared for “post-secondary” success as determined by New York’s Aspirational Performance Measure (APM).

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