States, schools want more graduates

Programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin focus on making college accessible and manageable.

In both the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota, programs are being implemented to encourage young people’s success in higher education. Wisconsin is starting a program to have high school students pledge they will strive for good grades to prepare for college. Here, the University Minnesota has a new initiative to ease the transition between high school and college for student athletes and low-income freshman. Both of these ideas seem to show the concern many have to increase higher education accessibility to youth.

The Wisconsin Covenant agreement might be a good way to implement aspirations in students at a younger age. Asking students to maintain good grades and take preparatory courses when they are in eighth grade at the very least brings their importance to light. Also, students who sign the agreement and live up to its standards are guaranteed a spot in the Wisconsin state university system and are even promised work study, loans and other financial aid.

Graduation rates might be improved by giving some incoming University students an early crash course in college academics and life. But this program needs to be spread to more than just 80 students in order to make a large impact.

There are many tools that high schools need to be giving their students to help prepare them for higher education. Schools should be helping to further assess overall career goals, not just calling attention to the importance of getting a college degree. This will increase graduation rates because students will have more direction throughout their college experience.

High schools should also be acquainting students with the importance of finding a college or university that fits into their personal financial needs. Students often base their decisions on a school’s location, course offerings or reputation. Higher consideration needs to be given to the entire cost of a degree and how that cost will affect a student after school.

The more information and guidance we give high school students about college and careers, the better. Both of these new programs show much potential; however, there is much to be done to increase graduation rates and college achievement in general.