Press Release: College-Going Rates Higher for Minorities at Early Colleges

Published mar. 24, 2011

Hundreds graduate high school with Associate’s degree

BOSTON, MA (March 24, 2011) — The importance of a college education for success in the 21st century is widely acknowledged, yet the college completion rates for low-income students, first-generation college goers, and students of color are a source of national concern.

A new report by Jobs for the Future, manager of the Early College High School Initiative, shows that early college students are refuting the conventional wisdom that these young people cannot complete high school on time and be prepared for success in college.

This report, Unconventional Wisdom: A Profile of the Graduates of Early College High School, examines the characteristics of 6,158 early college high school graduates from schools and programs with at least one four-year cohort between 2007 and 2009. Four-year enrollment is the amount of time required for students to acquire the skills and proficiencies for college success.

“We’re very excited by this data,” says Michael Webb, associate vice president at Jobs for the Future and report coauthor. “Half of our students would be the first in their families to ever attend college. This is about more than improving students’ college and career success. It’s about changing families’ and communities’ view on college and how obtainable that education can be.”

The report was released today as part of Early College High School Week 2011.

Key findings of Unconventional Wisdom:

  • During the 2009 school year, 70 percent of the students enrolled in early college schools were students of color, and 59 percent were classified as eligible for free and reduced lunch.
  • In 2009, 24 percent of graduates who were enrolled in their early college school for four years earned an Associate’s degree or two years of college credit; 44 percent earned at least a year of college credit.
  • Even though early college schools largely serve low-income and minority students, 73 percent of early college graduates enroll in college right after graduation versus 69 percent of all high school students.
  • Nearly three-fourths of early college schools partner with two-year colleges; the others partner with four-year institutions. Several schools partner with both.

The 230 early colleges nationwide already boast a 92 percent graduation rate (compared to the national 69 percent rate, according to Education Week’s “Diplomas Count 2009” report). These schools enable students to gain college experience—and free college credit—in high school, primarily minority and low-income students.

Download Unconventional Wisdom at

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.
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