11/15/13 - Greg Cumpton Highlights Positive Education Trends in Austin American-Statesman Article

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An article out this week in the Austin American-Statesman titled, “Little Progress In Effort to get more Austin-Area students to College” cites data from the Student Futures Project. The article attempts to shed light on why college enrollment rates in Central Texas have been stagnant for the last 6 years. Greg Cumpton, Research Associate at the Ray Marshall Center and Co-Principal Investigator of the Student Futures Project is quoted in the article and explains that there has been a surge in the number and share of lower-income students who are typically not as inclined to go to college.

The Student Futures Project is a research partnership of the Ray Marshall Center and currently 12 Central Texas independent school districts (ISDs). The project is documenting and analyzing the progress of Central Texas high school students as they move onto colleges and careers. It relies on a combination of student surveys and linked administrative records to improve feedback and policy and program alignment for Central Texas ISDs in preparing students for the demands of adulthood and for success in the workplace.

Despite stagnant enrollments rates, Cumpton explains that there are reasons for optimism; the share of low-income high school graduates transitioning to college increased by 7% points between 2008 and 2011. The Austin Chamber of Commerce has worked with local school districts and the Ray Marshall Center to incorporate programs such as the Summer Melt program into the toolbox that educators and administrators have to help students enroll and successfully attend college. Thus far, Central Texas has managed to avoid the drop in enrollment rates that other parts of Texas are currently experiencing.

Ray Marshall Center

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