The previous Measure Up article highlighted data on recent high school graduates required to enroll in developmental education courses upon college enrollment. A new Office of Higher Education report, Minnesota College Readiness Program Inventory, summarizes data provided by 63 college readiness programs serving high school and new college students.
The report concludes that college readiness programs, when effectively implemented, can help Minnesota close persistent achievement and opportunity gaps, improve college access, and increase degree completion.
The level of Minnesota student college readiness plays a significant role in levels of income inequality and upward mobility. Earning a college award is a credential of achievement that is linked to numerous benefits in life. Most importantly the ability to work in jobs paying sustainable or higher wages. An analysis by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows that education pays. Among Minnesota workers with less than a high school diploma, almost three out of four (73 percent) earn less than $20,000, while only one out of five people with a bachelors degree and one out of 10 people with an advanced degree earn low wages.
Currently, there is no central repository for college readiness programming throughout the state. The college readiness program directory represents a first step in analyzing the types of services being provided, where programs are located, and which subpopulations are being served.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education identified 129 programs whose missions stated or inferred a goal of promoting college access. In total, 63 programs responded to the survey and their information is included in the report.
Program respondents serve roughly 60,520 students per year. Most programs focus on high school students. Though there are a variety of target populations for college readiness programs in Minnesota, the majority of programs target low-income students, first-generation college students, and historically underrepresented minority students.
By providing a better understanding the landscape of college readiness programs in Minnesota, this project is intended to be a starting point for conversation around program alignment, partnership and coordinated strategies that support students of all backgrounds in their college aspirations.