Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More on the Education Divide

The reasons low-income students don't go to college are complex and subtle -- pressure to help support their families financially, parents who offer little help because they never went to college themselves, and a system that drops many poor students into their senior years of high school unprepared for and unaware of the benefits of higher education.

"Kids on Mercer Island, the expectation when they get out of bed in the morning is they will go to college," said Mark Pursley, the director of the Boys & Girls Club in White Center, one of King County's poorest neighborhoods. "The parenting is the biggest (factor) ... in a kid's life."

With fewer people pushing lower-income kids toward four-year schools, many don't feel ready for college, counselors and academics say.

Harvard University dangled the possibility of a free ride in front of kids at the White Center Boys & Girls Club last year, but counselors couldn't get a bite.

Why? Plenty of the students appeared qualified, but no one thought they belonged at Harvard, according to Ryan Schaedig, education director at the club.

After graduation, 53 percent of poor high school students are ready for college, while 86 percent of wealthy graduates are prepared, Lawrence Gladieux, author of the book "The College Aid Quandary," told Congress in 2002, citing data developed for the Education Department.
An accompanying .pdf with some great graphs and statistics.

As the previous article touched on, only 8.6% of students in a family with an income of less than $35,000 go to college vs. 75% of those with an income of over $95,000.

Not only does more education lead to a higher paycheck, it also leads to lower unemployment. Those with a HS degree have a 5.5% unemployment rate vs. 3.3% for a bachelor's degree and 1.7% for a professional degree.

Via Seattle Times

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