In recent years, the number of college enrollments across the United States has declined. However, there are many ways in which community leaders and educators can work together to encourage more students to pursue higher education. By creating a supportive environment and promoting accessible resources, community members can help create a brighter future for students and promote social mobility.
About College Enrollment Rates
Around the world, college enrollment rates have been on a steady decline in recent years. In the United States alone, the overall college enrollment rate reached its peak in 2010 and has since declined by more than 2%. According to statistics from The Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD), this decline is due to decreased college access and preparation.
Low-income students in the United States are enrolling in college at a rate that is 20% lower than their middle and high-income counterparts. Furthermore, 50% of these students fail to complete their degree programs within six years because they lack proper academic preparation upon enrollment. This disparity between students from different income classes presents an apparent problem that community leaders and educators can address.
Many states have been reporting record-high tuition rates over the past decade. In 2003, the average cost of tuition at a public four-year college was $7,139 per year. By 2013, this number had more than doubled to $16,140 per year. This has made higher education less accessible for individuals from low-income communities and those who don’t have the financial means to pay for college.
In addition, students from under-resourced schools often do not receive the same academic preparation as their peers from high-performing schools. A strong college outreach program can address this problem. Low-income students from under-resourced school districts are less likely to graduate from high school and pursue higher education due to a lack of academic preparation or awareness that a college is an option for them.
Community leaders and educators should invest in outreach and programs that encourage students to pursue higher education such as accounting services courses to address these problems with college enrollment rates. By doing so, they can work together to increase the number of college enrollments and help students receive a high-quality education.
How Community Leaders Can Promote Higher Education
Community leaders can promote higher education by creating initiatives that support at-risk students and ensure they have access to academic resources. They can provide students with the resources they need to succeed in college and build a better future for themselves.
Community leaders can also work with educators to create initiatives that actively engage students in educational programs after high school. This could include mentorship programs or academic tutoring opportunities. Community members should also do their part to advocate for more after-school programs and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiatives that can help students build a brighter future.
Last but not least, community members can also encourage higher education by serving as mentors and supporters of at-risk youth. They will play a role in shaping the next generation and promoting social mobility in their communities.
The Benefits of Higher Education
When students enroll in college, they can develop the technical skills that employers value and acquire transferable life skills that can help them succeed after graduation. Community leaders can encourage more enrollments by highlighting all the benefits of higher education in their outreach programs.
The following are some benefits of higher education:
Higher Education Can Lead to Higher Paying Jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a high school diploma make an average of $738 per week. However, bachelor’s degree holders earn roughly $1,056 per week on average.
Higher Education Can Lead to Fulfilling Careers
College graduates are also more likely than those with a high school diploma to be employed full-time (87% and 75%, respectively). As such, community members should encourage more college enrollments by explaining how higher education can lead to fulfilling careers.
In addition, even though many entry-level jobs don’t require a college degree, 60% of them pay above the median national wage. Community members will help support students as they work their way up the career ladder by encouraging more college enrollments.
Higher Education Can Lead to Higher Job Satisfaction
In addition, graduates from four-year colleges are twice as likely to say they have a lot of job satisfaction than those with just a high school diploma. Education can also help people who were once unemployed find employment — a great benefit for anyone looking for work.
Higher Education Can Lead to Important Networking Opportunities
Finally, numerous networking opportunities can be accessed by going to college. For instance, graduates from four-year schools have access to alumni networks that they can use when seeking jobs and internships. In addition, higher education institutions often provide students with career fairs to connect with potential employers to find employment after graduation.
By encouraging more college enrollments, community members will provide resources to help students find fulfilling jobs or launch their businesses after graduation.
Higher education is the gateway to opportunity, and rural communities should do everything they can for their students interested in going onto post-secondary schools. College-level academics will help at-risk youth succeed by giving them a sense of direction through mentorship programs or other activities that model successful lifestyles choices like getting an internship after graduation; it’ll also provide you with access to different fields where your hometown might not offer many opportunities otherwise.