Tag Archives: College persistence

College persistence and graduation

Research has shown the benefits of a college education – higher income, better health, increased civic participation and greater life satisfaction. That is good news for the 95% of Farther Foundation alumni who enroll in college. But that is not where the research ends, to reap those benefits merely going to college is not enough, graduation is the key (See the article by David Leonhardt in the New York Times blog, The Upshot).

college-selectivity-chartGraduation is far from a given when a student enters college. The national graduation rate hovers around 60% but ranges widely among colleges from 20% – 95%. Furthermore, the college graduation rate for low-income, first generation and under-represented minority students lags behind the overall national average. However, a closer look at the statistics reveals an interesting outcome. When graduation rates at individual colleges are considered, the differences between the overall graduation rates and those for low-income, first generation and under-represented minority students are greatly reduced or nearly vanish (See the research by The Education Trust).

The data clearly shows that regardless of the students’ socio-economic status some schools are better at graduating their students than others. It is important therefore for students to seek admission to those schools that have the best graduation rates. Barron’s Magazine’s Profiles of American Colleges publishes a college ranking guide that sorts colleges into categories of competitiveness. While these rankings can be debated and the alignment with graduation rates is not perfect, there is fairly strong correlation that the colleges ranked as very, highly or most competitive graduate students at a higher rate than those ranked as competitive, less competitive or noncompetitive. The Upshot went even deeper; compiling an index of those colleges it ranked as the best at doing the most for low income students (see the rankings here).

How does this relate to the work of Farther Foundation? We believe that the unique educational experiences we provide to low-income high school students – giving them the opportunity to travel away from home while participating in new experiences – gives them a broader base of knowledge and the confidence to apply to and gain admission to the best and most appropriate college for them. Research from The Education Trust found that low-income students were less likely than their higher-income counterparts to enroll in colleges in the upper half of selectivity and performance. In research specifically with Chicago Public School students, The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research found that 7 of the 10 most frequently attended colleges by CPS students have graduation rates less than 50%. Additional research indicates that CPS students tend not to seek out colleges that best align with the upper range of their abilities and qualifications.

Farther Foundation students are charting a different path. Not only are 95% of our students enrolling in college directly upon graduation from high school, but 96% of those students are graduating or remain on track to graduate from college. No doubt the college persistence shown by our students is due in great measure to their own character and capacities. However, their college choices seem to reflect a boldness and confidence that exceeds even their high achieving peers. 79% of Farther Foundation students attend colleges in the top three categories of Barron’s rankings – Very Competitive, Highly Competitive and Most Competitive. Our students’ ability to be aware of their options, and their confidence to seek out the best and most appropriate college, puts them on the path to success. We believe (and they believe) that the educational travel experiences made possible by Farther Foundation contributed greatly in fostering the knowledge and confidence that influenced their college decisions and will continue to be a positive influence in all of their future achievements.

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

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Bridging the gap in college graduation for rich and poor

Oli at Brown

Oli spent the summer at a pre-college program at Brown University

Study results released by The Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania have been all over the news today. The study paints an increasingly bleak picture regarding college graduation rates for students from low-income verse higher income families.

The study reports that, “the percentage of students from the lowest-income families — those making $34,160 a year or less — earning a bachelor’s degree has inched up just 3 points since 1970, rising from 6 to 9 percent by 2013.” Meanwhile, college completion for students from the wealthiest families has risen from 44 to 77 percent.

But this doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Students who have participated in Farther Foundation programs come from families with an average annual income of about $30,000, and yet our students have a college persistence rate of 94 percent. College persistence means that they have either graduated college or remain on track to do so. See our annual report for more details about our program and our students.

Farther Foundation students participate in unique education travel programs during high school that provide them with the motivation, experience and confidence to set their sights high and gain admission to the best colleges possible. Data shows that college graduation rates increase along with the selectivity of the college. See the report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Farther Foundation students are demonstrating that there does not need to be a gap between rich and poor. What all students need to excel are the proper opportunities and resources so that they can reach their highest potential.

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

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Life changing experiences for deserving students

Thank you for supporting Farther Foundation and the students we serve. Thanks to you, deserving students are participating in life-changing, educational travel experiences across the country and around the world. It’s not too late to make a difference this year. Make your donation online at www.fartherfoundation.org.

Here is your impact on Farther Foundation students:

HS Graduation Rate

 

College Enrollment

 

College Persistence

 

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

Leave a comment

Filed under College Access, Education, travel

First Generation College Persistence

NORA 008 - editWe recently came across an article posted on the online site for The Atlantic exploring the issue of what it is like to be the first in a family to go to college.  At Farther Foundation, almost all of our students are the first in their family, or at least part of the first generation in their family, to attend college.

The article does a nice job of pointing out some of the hurdles that first generation college aspirants have in gaining admittance and remaining in college until graduation. First-hand experience from family and friends does not exist. Expert college counseling in their schools is scarce. Admissions and financial aid processes are tricky. College life can be a very foreign and stressful experience with little that is familiar to provide comfort or relief.

Since 2009, Farther Foundation has been providing opportunities for low-income high school students from the Chicago area to participate in enrichment travel programs across the country and around the world. In a population of students where the high school graduation rate is 63%, and only half of those graduates go immediately on to college and less than half of those again persist until college graduation, it is a far different story for our program participants. 100% of our participants graduate high school, 95% go on to college and 95% are staying in college. Several members from our 2009 scholarship class are now college seniors and we look forward with great pride and excitement to their graduation this spring.

We believe there are several factors that are making the difference for our students:

  • Their Farther Foundation high school travel experience familiarized them with application and financial aid processes.
  • They experienced what it was like to be away from home for an extended time.
  • Their families learned what it was like for the student to be away from home.
  • They experienced new and different people, places and cultures.
  • They gained confidence and experience necessary to expand their pool of college choices making it more likely to select the right fit college.
  • They became more aware of a world full of opportunities and their own potential to succeed anywhere is that world.

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, scholarships, Youth