Saturday, June 7, 2014

What It Takes to Survive and Thrive in Texas with College Success

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Data Tool Updated to Include County-Level Higher Education Data that Show 8th Graders with Economic Issues Are Less Likely to Complete College

Higher education completion numbers show low-income 8th graders across Texas are far less likely than their higher income counterparts to finish college or complete a higher education credential.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities, with funding support from TG, has added statewide and local higher education data to its Texas Regional Opportunity Index (TROI) county data tool, and the numbers show that the state is making uneven progress on major indicators of success.

While the rate of completion varies across counties, the data consistently show a clear relationship between greater access to rigorous college-level classes in high school and greater enrollment in four-year colleges among poorer students.

Statewide, only 19 percent of all students who started 8th grade in the fall of 2001 had earned a higher education degree or credential 12 years later, a phenomenon known as the “leaky pipeline.” Across various counties, the percentage ranges from 7 to 41 percent completion.

Economically disadvantaged 8th graders are three times less likely to complete a college degree or credential than their counterparts who live in households with higher income, but that rate varies across counties. For example, only 5 percent of Travis County’s poor 8th graders complete a higher education credential, compared to Hidalgo County’s 15 percent completion rate.

Thanks to the support of TG, a non-profit corporation that promotes college access and success, CPPP has recently shared the TROI with Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Rio Grande Valley communities and leaders through the Road to College Completion: What It Takes to Survive and Thrive in Texas roadshow. CPPP will visit at least two more regions in the state later this year.

“State and local stakeholders can use this opportunity to reflect on the data available in the TROI and design programs and policies that address the gaps in educational attainment.” said Jacob Fraire of TG. “The state’s economic progress depends on our ability to move more students through to completion of a college degree or credential. We value this partnership with CPPP to improve access to local data around key college access and success indicators.”

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