Surrounded by Mt. Pleasant High School seniors and juniors, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the College Board to provide college-ready students with the support and resources they’ll need to apply to the nation’s colleges.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be the first and it really came out of some research that was released earlier this year that said across the country so many high-performing, low-income kids are not going on to college,” Markell said.
That achievement gap, documented in the Hoxby-Turner study, named after the Stanford University and University of Virginia professors behind it, found when qualified low-income students were given materials on how to apply to college, financial aid and scholarships and college resources, that intervention led to a positive change in application behavior.
Beginning this month, as a part of this partnership, the College Board will send out specialized information packets to low-income students who score well on the SAT college entrance exam.
“What they offer kids is they encourage them personally to apply to a broader range of colleges,” College Board President David Coleman said. “They also include fee waivers so that the moment kids are thinking, ‘Boy, can I really do this,’ they waive the fee for applying to college.”
Delaware expanded the project to reach a broader set of students, in addition to the high-achieving, low-income group. More than 2,000 other seniors will receive materials tailored to their needs as well as fee waivers.
“A lot of what this is about is making sure that a lot of high-performing kids who wouldn’t otherwise think about college, actually think about college,” Markell said, particularly of students in Delaware.
According to the governor, 55 percent of jobs in Delaware will require some kind of education beyond high school by the end of the decade. “Right now, if you look at all ninth graders, only 30 percent of them are making their way to their second year of college, so we’ve got to change that.”
Yale University Dean of Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan also attended Wednesday’s announcement. Citing cost as one possible deterrant for low-income students to consider applying to the nation’s best colleges, Quinlan told students Yale spent $120 million in financial aid last year, and encouraged them to look beyond the sticker price. Currently one year of tuition with room and board at Yale will set you back $56,165.
“The reality is less than half the students at Yale are paying that. Most students are paying significantly less, we have a hundred families who are paying zero dollars a year for their Yale education and the average student who’s on financial aid at Yale is getting more than half of that cost paid for by the university itself,” Quinlan said, adding more of its students are graduating with less debt.
“The good news is, that given great information alone, a larger number go forth and we will work on this campaign till we work with families, and parents and others to energize them to catapult their kids into opportunity,” Coleman said.
Coleman and the governor say they’re confident other states will follow Delaware’s lead.