Getting kids into (the right) college

Guiding high-achieving, low-income students into and through college is something that we know a lot about, so it’s great to see other programs confronting this same issue from a different angle with successful results.

The College Board, using research from Expanding College Opportunities, a project directed by Professors Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University and Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia, is reaching out to high-achieving students in low-income areas in hopes of raising application rates to selective colleges. They’re doing it by arming the students with tailored information packets on schools that might otherwise be off their radars.

From The Hechinger Report:

“The approach is less persuading them of something than providing them with information,” said Veronica Conforme, a College Board vice president overseeing the initiative, which is reaching out to 20,000 rising seniors this summer at a cost of $8 per student. “These are accomplished kids, and once you put the information in front of them, they will act on that information.”

The importance of choosing the right school has been touched on a few times here on our blog. Our view has always been that low-income students need to weigh the financial impact of the school that they choose. Far too often we see students attend the “school of their dreams” only to drop out 18 to 24 months later, saddled with debt and no degree.

The bigger goal: Raising college completion rates among low-income students

The Hechinger Report quotes Richard D. Kahlenberg towards the end of their piece, “…I would wait to celebrate until we know whether these students are getting admitted in large numbers, and that the universities are providing adequate financial aid to ensure that they’re actually able to enroll.” (Emphasis ours.)

We’d echo that caution and add one more comment: We also need to ensure that we prepare low-income students with the full suite of skills (academic, noncognitive and financial) that they need to persist through college and obtain degrees.

Read the whole story from The Hechinger Report.