In the News…

Over half of Texas students are suspended or expelled from school

A Justice Center report, “Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement,” reveals tragically high suspension rates of Texas’ students between the 7th and 12th grades:

  • Nearly six in ten public school students were suspended or expelled from school at least once
  • Nearly 150,000 students spent time in an alternative school
  • Nearly 80,000 students spent time in a juvenile justice education program
  • 83 percent of Black male students had at least one suspension (74 percent for Hispanic males and 59 percent for White males)
  • 75 percent of Special Education students were suspended or expelled at least once
  • 31 percent of students who were suspended or expelled had to repeat their grade at least once (only 5 percent for students who were never suspended)
  • 10 percent of students who were suspended or expelled dropped out of school

Clearly, being suspended or expelled from school, and the resulting time out of school can have a hugely negative impact on a student’s future.

AP classrooms reveal a racial divide

The article in the Tennessean reveals the inequity in AP course enrollment being experienced in school districts through the country. In Wilson County, TN, not one black high school student took an advanced-level math, science or foreign-level class during the 2009-10 school year. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ data shows that this is a national crisis with some high schools not offering enough classes, others not encouraging students to enroll into such classes, others discouraging students from enrolling into such classes, and others simply not offering the necessary support for students to succeed in such classes.

An analysis of the data shows that high schools in high poverty areas offer few AP and advance classes for students to choose from. Important findings in the report:

  • 7,300 U.S. High Schools do not offer Calculus
  • Girls are underrepresented in physics
  • Boys are underrepresented in Algebra 2

Go to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to disaggregated student data for your state’s high school enrollment, graduation rates, and advanced course enrollment. Research by the U.S. Department of Education, the CollegeBoard, and the ACT  indicate that enrollment and success in such high school classes is a clear predictor of future success in a student’s college-level classes.

Does an Athletic Scholarship Cover Everything?

The answer is no. The article in Higher Ed provides insight into the scholarship gap, or the gap in what an athletic scholarship covers and the actual costs of attending college. The NCAA specifies, under 15.02.5, that a full grant-in-aid is financial aid that consists of tuition and fees, room and board, and required course-related books. However, colleges themselves provide a COA (Cost of Attendance) for prospective students that is a higher number, sometimes much higher depending on where a student is from, estimating the real costs of attending college (transportation, living expenses, etc.). Subsequently, a college-bound student athlete who accepts a full athletic scholarship to a school within his or her home state may have a substantially lower COA than a student who accepts an athletic scholarship to a college or university across the country.

Tuition costs outpacing financial aid

Now, as much as ever, students must have a college plan that will assist them in paying the huge cost of college tuition. Earning a scholarship, getting admitted into a highly selective college that offers needs-based financial aid can make all of the difference. However, the students who will find it most difficult to afford college are also the students who are among the least likely students to have the appropriate plan.

According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education June 2011 Policy Alert:

  • College tuition at both 2-year and 4-year colleges is outpacing family income
  • Students’ financial-aid packages are not keeping pace with tuition costs
  • 44 percent of low-income students attend community college while only 15 percent of high-income students do
  • Community Colleges account for approximately 40 percent of all postsecondary enrollment
  • Graduation rates at community colleges are among the lowest

The most likely students to attend community college are:

  • Students from low-income families
  • First in their family to attend college
  • From underrepresented racial or ethnic group
  • 38 percent of students whose parents did not graduate from college attend community college while only 20 percent of students whose parents graduated from college attend community college
  • 50 percent of Hispanic students; 31 percent of Black students; and 28 percent of White students attend community college
  • In Arizona, California, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Texas, over 50 percent of Black and Hispanic students attend community college
  • None of these states graduate as many as half of its community college students