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Poised to Lead: How School Counselors Can Drive College and Career Readiness

March 5, 2012 Comments off

Poised to Lead: How School Counselors Can Drive College and Career Readiness (PDF)
Source: Education Trust

The caliber of course selection strongly shapes the choices students have after they leave high school. Yet, few students are equipped to determine which combination of courses will best prepare them for success after graduation. School counselors can help. These educators know how to create course schedules that will prepare students for the twin options of college and career.

Not only can school counselors help individual students, they can help their schools, too. Their unique vantage point gives them insight into which students (including which groups of students) are on a dead-end path, which are receiving an education that will yield real choices, and which are in between. They also know which courses or teachers produce the most failures and successes, which policies hold students back, and which instructional supports actually help. This knowledge makes school counselors an invaluable resource for helping schools see how their policies and practices may contribute to holding students back, and for determining how to propel all students toward success.

However, on too many of our campuses, high school counselors are saddled with menial tasks that are unrelated to preparing students for success after graduation. The reasons for this range from the way school counselors are trained to how they see themselves, and the way their role is defined in schools. The failure of principals to recognize school counselors as potential leaders in the effort to raise achievement and success for all students also is a factor.

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High College Costs, Low Aid Burden Struggling Families

June 1, 2011 Comments off

High College Costs, Low Aid Burden Struggling Families
Source: Education Trust

A report released today by The Education Trust documents how the financial-aid policies of colleges, universities, states, and the federal government together limit — rather than expand — access to higher education for millions of low-income young people.

Data on the “net price” of college — that is the amount that families must pay after all sources of grant aid are accounted for — for every college and university in the country, were recently released for the first time by the U.S. Department of Education. “Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students” uncovers a new and disheartening picture of college opportunity for low-income students. The Ed Trust analysis reveals that the average low-income family must pay or borrow an amount roughly equivalent to 72 percent of its annual household income each year — just to send one child to a four-year college.

Middle-class and high-income families fare much better on college costs. They contribute amounts equivalent to just 27 percent and 14 percent of their yearly earnings, respectively.

Astoundingly, only five institutions out of 1,186 with comparable data had a net price (total attendance cost minus total grant aid) of $4,600 or less, a graduation rate of at least 50 percent, and at least 30 percent enrollment by students from low-income families. What’s more, not a single public flagship university, private nonprofit, or for-profit institution is represented on that list.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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