Post-Secondary Attainment

Goal: Every high school graduate earns a post-secondary degree or certification.

Post-secondary enrollment marks one of the critical transitions in the cradle to career pipeline where students, particularly low-income and students of color, are less likely to pursue education beyond high school. Students from lower income schools enrolled in college at an average rate of 50%, compared to 65% of students from higher income schools. Research has shown that, “Low income students, even those with high academic performance levels, are less likely to enroll in college, more likely to attend two-year colleges when they do enroll, and less likely to apply to more selective institutions compared to their more advantaged peers with similar academic preparation.” This important phase, necessary to help a student progress from high school graduation to post-secondary degree completion, is now more exigent than ever. Nationally, the workforce is pivoting away from traditional labor-intensive careers toward careers requiring a strong technical knowledge foundation. As students begin to understand the impact of post-secondary education on their future plans, it is critical to ensure their access to post-secondary program options and financial aid information. Post-secondary credentials are not limited to four- year universities; two-year programs and technical certifications are also valuable in this knowledge-based economy.

Generation Next Strategies

Gateway to College: In partnership with the Saint Paul College Gateway to College program, Generation Next is supporting guided pathway advising to monitor students enrolled in college-level courses, improve course success rates and advance student matriculation. The Guided Pathways to Success methods have been identified through research, advocacy, and practice to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. Many of these students’ academic challenges are rooted in the complexity of their lives outside the classroom.

Dual Enrollment: Generation Next has sought strategies that accelerate students in the academic red zones as the impact potential seems greatest with those students likely to view post-secondary enrollment as unattainable. As a national promising practice, dual enrollment can benefit a range of students and is shown to have a greater positive impact on the students with limited access to it. In partnership with the Center for School Change, Generation Next helped to arrange funding for non-traditional high schools to expand dual enrollment access to their students.

Generation Next Accomplishments

Starting in the fall of 2016, Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PYC) Arts & Tech High School and Face to Face Academy offered dual enrollment courses including Math for Trades, Medical Terminology and AP Computer Science; 14% of 11th and 12th graders at PYC and Face to Face Academy participated in dual enrollment courses, which represents a 140% increase from the previous year.

Hispanic male 12th graders in Saint Paul increased dual enrollment completion by 11 percentage points between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years; African American males increased 10 percentage points.

In the fall of 2016, Generation Next helped sponsor a conference with about 200 attendees to increase awareness of dual credit opportunities, particularly for underserved and diverse communities. Systemic barriers to increasing dual credit access were raised at the conference; for example, attendees requested a Hmong dual enrollment course. In response, the University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools program convened practitioners to create a Hmong dual enroll course.

By partnering with Generation Next, the Gateway to College program was able to add a full-time Intrusive Support Coordinator position, which provides proactive advising to 160 students, using Saint Paul College data and early alert systems to identify academic challenges faced by students and recommends additional services when needed.

Early Grade Literacy
Middle Grade Math
Social-Emotional Learning
High School Graduation