Several socioeconomic factors point to the need for early intervention/early awareness programs and services.
Each year, 34 percent of Minnesota's graduating high school seniors decide not to continue on to college in the year following graduation. Add to that high dropout rates at the high school level, low college participation rates and low college graduation rates, and the outcome is Minnesota education institutions and communities are preparing only a fraction of all potential students of color for Minnesota's workforce. First-generation college students face additional challenges once they get to college. They are twice as likely to:
Minnesota's population is becoming increasingly diverse with significant growth projected in minority and immigrant populations. The number of students of color in the state's K-12 system is expected to increase 40 percent through 2015, while enrollment of white students will decline 17 percent. If underrepresented student populations are unable to attain a college education, there will be too few skilled workers to take the place of those retiring.
Too many students enter and graduate from high school with little college awareness or how education relates to careers and income. This can also impact which classes they choose to take in high school, leaving them unprepared academically to succeed in college. Many low-income, minority or first-generation students and families do not understand how the higher education system works or where they can go for help.
Minnesota cannot effectively expand its economy without talented and skilled workers. While Minnesota continues to have a relatively educated workforce, the state has historically imported more college graduates than it produces, especially in science and technical fields. To meet this and future demands, Minnesota must educate more of its workforce or continue to rely on and compete for college graduates from other states or countries.
College Access Matters: The Opportunity for College Access Programs in Minnesota. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, Inc.
Minnesota Measures: Report on Higher Education Performance. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
Short-term Early College Awareness: Key Strategies for Successful Early Intervention and Early College Awareness Programs. Alexandria, VA: National Association for College Admissions Counseling.
The State of Students of Color. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, Inc.