By 2018, 64 percent of jobs in the United States will require a postsecondary degree or certificate, according to Complete College America. But, for many students, particularly those from high-need communities, the steps to college are not clear, and the supports and services to get there are fragmented, invisible or unavailable.
Launched in 2008 with support from the Citi Foundation, the FHI 360 Postsecondary Success Collaborative has put higher education within reach for more students. By strengthening and building local partnerships formed around improving postsecondary educational attainment, educators and community members are identifying and providing the tools and supports that students need to succeed in higher education and in an increasingly competitive job market.
The Postsecondary Success Collaborative began with the goal of reaching some 4,500 students in 10 pilot high schools in Miami-Dade County, Philadelphia and San Francisco. More than 12,000 students have benefited from a coordinated approach among partners to identify assets and needs, build upon strengths, address gaps, and eliminate redundancy of efforts. Partners have included districts, schools, local intermediaries and employers, higher education institutions, and the evaluation and research community.
The Postsecondary Success Collaborative partnered with Equal Measure to evaluate its work in order to learn and share lessons about increasing college enrollment and completion for students from high-need communities. Equal Measure’s five-year data collection and analysis shows significant gains from schools involved with the Postsecondary Success Collaborative. Results include:
- For all 10 Postsecondary Success Collaborative schools, immediate college enrollment increased by 18 percent and college persistence (the number of students persisting from the first to the second year in college) increased by 11 percent compared with increases of 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in the three school districts overall
- For seven of the participating schools that were considered “strong implementers,” college enrollment increased by 30 percent and college persistence increased by 26 percent compared with increases of 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in the three school districts overall
- For African-American and Latino students in the strong implementation schools, rates increased as well:
- College enrollment among African-American and Latino students increased by 24 percent compared with a 5 percent increase among students from the same ethnic groups in the districts overall
- College persistence among African-American and Latino students increased by 27 percent compared with a 4 percent increase among students from the same ethnic groups in the districts overall
Learn more about the Postsecondary Success Collaborative and partners: