Number Of Highline School Students Heading To College Is Up

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The number of Highline Public Schools students heading to college is up significantly over the past four years, and more Highline graduates are going to four-year universities, according to a study released by the school district this week.

In 2004, 52.5 percent of grads went directly to college. That number was up nearly five percentage points to 57.4 percent in 2008.

The study goes on to say that the increase in university enrollment was even more dramatic. The number of Highline seniors enrolling in four-year institutions in 2004 was just over 20 percent. By 2008, that number had increased to 28.6 percent.

Highline’s upward trend was tracked in research conducted by Baker Educational Research Consulting in cooperation with the National Clearinghouse, which has a 92% success rate in locating students who attend two- or four-year institutions anywhere in the United States.

Highline chief accountability officer, Dr. Alan Spicciati, praises the schools’ “intense efforts” at creating a college-going culture. “These results are a reflection of a lot of good, coordinated work in supporting students on their way to a better future,” says Spicciati.

Highline saw a decrease in the number of students staying in college beyond freshman year over the four-year period, from 82.6 to 75.5 percent. Spicciati says that is likely due to economic challenges facing families in the current recession.

Spicciati points out positive trends among Latino and African American students, in particular. Black and Latino students increased college-enrollment at higher rates than other racial groups, enough to eliminate what has been a significant college enrollment gap between White, Asian, and African American students.

“We now have the same percentage of African American students entering college as that of White and Asian students,” says Superintendent John Welch.

Welch, the first in his family to attend college, acknowledges that Highline has much work to do to realize its vision of college readiness for every student. But he is encouraged by the new numbers.

“This four-year upward trend represents several hundred Highline kids who are now going to college,” notes Welch. “We’re heading in the right direction.”

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