NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 18, 2005

Adults are encouraging kids to attend college and kids want to go, but researchers are finding that many students arrive at college completely unprepared to succeed, says USA Today.

New research reveals that poor and minority students are especially susceptible to this gap between aspirations and reality.

A USA Today analysis of two Department of Education Surveys found:

  • In 1990, 59 percent of 10th-graders with college aspirations expected to get a four-year college degree or higher; by 2002, that number had risen to 80 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2002, the percentage of students graduating from high school and entering college rose marginally from 60 percent to 64 percent.

For poor and minority students, high school drop out rates remain high and college education rates remain low, says USA Today. If these students even make it to college, the chances of them earning a degree is smaller than for students from wealthier families.

For instance, students from the nation's wealthiest families, those earning more than $85,000 a year, are three times more likely to be in college two years after graduating from high school and one in two will earn a bachelor's degree by age 24. The chances for kids from the nation's poorest families, those earning less than $35,377 a year, are one in 17, according to USA Today.

Source: Greg Toppo and Anthony DeBarros, "Reality Weighs Down Dreams of College: Poor Kids Don't Get The Tools They Need," USA Today, February 2, 2005.


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