Tracking Grads To and Thru College: YES Prep

Jen and the great folks at YES Prep have published a new paper: 

More than 90% of our 1,700 alumni are first-generation college students. We are heartened that over 72% of our alumni are either still persisting in college or have graduated, and that, since 2001, 44% of our total alumni have earned their college degrees.

Our six-year college graduation rate currently stands at 41%. This rate is significant: our students are graduating from college at five times the rate of their peers in Houston and more than quadruple the rate of their peers nationally.

Yet, we are still not where we need to be, and we have learned some hard lessons along the way. Though our students have continually outpaced national college graduation statistics for low-income and students of color, our rates initially began to falter as our graduating classes grew. Our six-year graduation rate for the Class of 2005 is 50%, but for the Class of 2006, that rate dropped to 45% and to 34% for the Class of 2007.

We worked hard to study why.

So what did they do?  I'll leave you in suspense, but they tried 4 things. 

With the implementation of these new efforts in 2006, our graduating class in 2008 began college significantly more prepared. Their six-year graduation rate rose to 46%.  Looking at our later classes, we are seeing their persistence rates rise, as well.

For the Class of 2010, for example, at the end of their fourth year of college, a full 73% are still persisting.  And for the YES Prep Classes of 2010-2012, 87% have persisted to their sophomore year compared to a national freshmen to sophomore persistence rate of approximately 72%, regardless of ethnicity or income level.

Read the whole paper here

For context, read Robert Pondiscio's Ed Next story here