Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education

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Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education. Educational Attainment Task Force November 14, 2012 Office of Performance Evaluations Amy Lorenzo Bryon Welch. Major Findings. Barriers fall into three main areas Academic readiness Access Affordability - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education

Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary EducationEducational Attainment Task ForceNovember 14, 2012

Office of Performance EvaluationsAmy LorenzoBryon Welch1Major FindingsBarriers fall into three main areasAcademic readinessAccessAffordabilityNo accurate baseline on current education levelsLong-term planning will require better coordination of education and workforce needsReducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education22Nine RecommendationsBoard of EducationUse and management of dataScholarshipsStrategic growth and partnershipsDepartment of EducationCounselorsDepartment of LaborData sharing Legislature Financial support of postsecondary educationReducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education33Measuring Postsecondary Education 4Board of Education GoalBy 2020, 60% of Idaho residents between the ages of 25 and 34 will have a college degree or certificate Georgetown study suggested 61% of jobs will require postsecondary education in 2018Board will measure goal beginning with programs that take at least one year to complete There is no current way to establish a baseline or measure progress using new criteria

Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education55Educational Attainment of Idahoans 2534 Years Old, 201031.5%52.9%Board 60% GoalReducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education66Data LimitationsNo way to track one-year certificatesPrivate institutions and proprietary schools will not report to longitudinal data system System will not be used to measure progress29% of students in sample data will not be captured in systemPublic institutions have been tasked with increasing graduates, but no clear link with growth strategy and employment projections

Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education77RecommendationBoard of Education4.1: To accurately set a baseline and measure progress, consider the following:Which institutions or schools offer programs of at least one year?Are those entities reporting to the board? If not, how will they be accounted for?What data will the board use to determine current baseline and measure progress?Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education88RecommendationBoard of Education4.2: Establish performance measures and benchmarks to strategically increase the number of degrees awarded at public institutionsFormally coordinate with private institutions and proprietary schoolsLink with recommendation 5.1

Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education99Identifying BarriersAs a part of our evaluation, Amy and I wanted to reach out to current students to find out what are the most common barriers they face in making decisions about postsecondary education. We also surveyed school counselors to see if their responses would identify similar barriers.

10BarriersStudentsPercent RespondedAbility to pay for college83Access to financial aid, such as grants or loans34Access to scholarships31Likelihood of getting a job once I complete additional education31Insufficient scholarship amounts 25Fear or uncertainty about postsecondary academic expectations24Poor academics while in high school21Family or other obligations15Lack of support from my parents or family12Lack of interest in attending college11When thinking about education after high school, what are the top three challenges you face in making decisions? (N=672)Here we have these results ranked by what students identified as their most common barriers. What we found was that the responses can be categorized into three categories of barriers: academic readiness, at high school and college.

access, whether it be family support or other obligations

and affordability, the ability to pay for college.

These match categories of barriers found in national literature. There was also a group of students who identified job prospects as a barrier. We will revisit this later when we talk about linking education and employment.

11BarriersCounselors and TRIOIn your experience, what are the three most common barriers currently facing students in making decisions about postsecondary education? (N=76)Percent RespondedAbility to pay for college71Little or no parental support46Fear or uncertainty about postsecondary academic expectations38Poor academic performance while in high school34Family or other obligations28Insufficient scholarship amounts 18Access to financial aid, such as grants or loans17Lack of awareness of the importance of college16Other13Lack of interest in attending college9Access to scholarships3We also surveyed school counselors and TRIO staff to identify what barriers they see facing the students they interact with. TRIO is a federally funded program in the high schools that works with students at risk of continuing their education after high school.

Like the student responses, counselors and TRIO staff responses fall into the same three categories: academic readiness,

access,

and affordability.

We found a few similarities among the students, counselors and TRIOP staff, particularly that the ability to pay for college is bar far the most common barrier identified.

However, we did find some differences. Parental support and academic readiness were identified more frequently by counselors and TRIO staff, than by students. This may be to the broader perspective that counselors have in assessing the college readiness of students than students themselves could. 12Academic ReadinessCurrent Efforts Requiring college entrance examsStudents can take SAT for freeImplementing Common Core StandardProviding more advanced optionsAPDual creditOffering professional-technical preparation

Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education13I would now like to talk about the three categories of barriers, and Ill begin with academic readiness. Sufficient academic readiness greatly increases the likelihood of success in college. Students identified both academic performance in high school as well as at the postsecondary level as concerns. In response to these concerns, we found that Idaho is taking several steps to address academic readiness.

Beginning this year, students will be required to take a college entrance exam for graduation, such as the SAT or the ACT. The state will begin paying for students to take the SAT as well.

The common core standards were developed to align K-12 curriculum with college and workforce needs. A statewide plan to implement these standards was recently approved by the Legislature.

Idaho has also been increasing the number of students that are taking advanced options courses such as AP and dual credit courses. The state is also offering dual credit scholarships to offer college courses at a discounted rate and foster a college going mindset.

Professional-technical courses are another way for students to earn college credit while in high school. In 2010, over two thirds of tech prep graduates went on to college.

In light of all these efforts, we have no recommendations relating to academic performance. 13AccessBarriersInsufficient parental supportHigh student-to-counselor ratioLack of statewide counselor coordinatorCurrent effortsCollege Access Challenge GrantGEAR UPTRIOCareer Information System (CIS)Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education14Insufficient support from parents and counselors was identified as barriers for access to postsecondary education. Students need a solid support network to help them prepare and gain access to college, and parents and counselors play a vital role in fulfilling this need.

Early intervention is supported in national literature as a method to instill a spirit of college preparation in young students, even as early as elementary school.

We found that Idaho has a student to counselor ratio almost twice as much as national standards set forth by the American School Counselor Association . This means less time is available per student to spend with counselors on important access issues like college and career placement.

Staff at the Board and Department of Education and school counselors voiced concern that there is no longer an individual at the Department of Education that helps coordinate communication statewide to counselors, particularly for college and career preparation and training.

There are several efforts going on to increase college access in Idaho, mostly targeting low income or at risk students including the college access challenge grant, TRIO and GEAR UP. All of these programs are federally funded and aim to increase the number of high school graduates that pursue postsecondary education.

Career Information Systems is the exception, as it is the only statewide comprehensive toll to provide up to date education and employment information. The CIS administer notes that the success of the program relies in part to the willingness of teachers and counselors to incorporate CIS into the classroom.

14RecommendationsDepartment of Education2.1: Dedicate a position to serve as a statewide K12 counselor coordinator, particularly related to college and career information. 2.2: Take steps to decrease the student-to-counselor ratio, particularly for those positions that provide education and career counseling.

Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education15Therefore we recommend that the department

This will increase the availability of trained college and career placement professionals for students.

We also recommend the Department

This person would spearhead communication efforts at the state level and coordinate training for all school counselors across the state.

15RecommendationBoard of Education3.2: Work with the Legislature to create a strategy to financially support the growth of statewide outreach programs to increase college access that can be sustained in the absence of external financial resources.R