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Summer Focus: Getting Students to Consider, and then Finish, College

Groups are working with first generation college students and their families to get them to complete some kind of post-secondary education. (Virginia Carter)
Groups are working with first generation college students and their families to get them to complete some kind of post-secondary education. (Virginia Carter)
June 27, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Getting Indiana's kids motivated when it comes to post secondary education was the focus of a recent event in Indianapolis. The Postsecondary Counseling Institute features a series of workshops for educators, parents, youth workers, and community leaders.

Tracy Butler, director of college and career counseling at the Indiana Youth Institute, said a lot of the focus is on first generation students, kids who are the first in their family to even consider going on to college.

"Before we start talking to them about what's your career goal and what are your plans and kind of talking about the nuts and bolts of how do you get there, we really have to open their eyes, and oftentimes their parent or caregivers eyes as well that it's within their reach," she said.

But getting students interested is just the start. According to the Indiana Department of Education, just 3 in 10 students who enroll at a four-year campus graduate on time and fewer than 65 percent finish within six years. At the state's two year colleges, fewer than 1 in 10 students finish on time and fewer than 2 in 10 graduate within three years. Butler said that issue is also a part of the workshops.

"The focus really is how can we deliver as much information and support to our partners around the state who are affecting young people's choice to be successful after high school," she added.

Progress has been made when it comes to how many Indiana kids finish high school. The graduation rate has increased over the last decade from less than 80 percent to around 89 percent in 2015.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN