New York City

NYC schools chancellor continues push to get more high schoolers college bound

365 NYC Schools Participating in College Application Week This Year - Less than Half the City’s Total

October 17, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Southside Williamsburg, one of  115 Brooklyn high schools participating in this year's College Application Week program to enhance college awareness among city high schoolers    Credit: NYC Department of Education
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Public high school educators across the city will be driving home a special message to their students this week: Think college.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced Monday that a record 365 New York City high schools – 115 of them in Brooklyn — will participate in College Application Week, which runs Oct. 17-21.

Now in its fourth year, College Application Week promotes college awareness in all high school grade levels by holding college application and financial aid sessions; bringing students on visits to local college campuses; hosting question-and-answer seminars for students and their families, decorating school hallways and classrooms with college posters and even having staff and alumni wear college gear around high school campuses.

Farina explained that the school system’s participation is part of Mayor de Blasio’s College Access for All Initiative, and added that this  week’s activities would be “focused on low-income students and those who would be the first in their family to go to college.”

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“I remember the challenges of being the first person in my family to go to college, so I want all our students to know that their ability to go go college and pursue careers shouldn’t be defined by their zip code or their background,” the Chancellor said.

But while Farina and de Blasio proudly proclaimed that the 365 high schools participating in this year’s College Application Week was a new record – up from 298 in 2015-2016 and 161 the year before — the number represented less than half the city’s total of 800 public schools.

The Department of Education’s annual budget is about $25 billion for 1.1 million students. The agency spends slightly more than $19,000 a year to educate each student.

When asked for statistics on high school graduation and college enrollment rates, a Farina spokesman said the overall graduation rate for the class of 2015 was 70.5 percent, and the post-secondary school enrollment rate for the class of 2014 – the latest statistic available – was only 53 percent.

At Juan Morel Campos High School in Southside Williamsburg, one of the 115 Brooklyn schools participating in College Application Week, the graduation rate last year was 49 percent, although School Director Jason Rosenbaum noted that 90 percent of those who did graduate went on to enroll in college.

“Many of our students come into ninth grade not understanding or believing college is an option,” Rosenbaum told The Brooklyn Eagle. “Our goal is that by the time they’re in the 12th grade and ready to graduate, that they know that they can go to college.”

And Farina insisted that “College Application Week is about ensuring our students know that college is an option, and ensuring they have the support and resources at their school to make it a reality.”

She also noted that under the College Access for All Initiative, “Every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus by 2018, and the4re will be new college workshops for middle school students and families.

“This will promote a college-going  culture that encourages students to consider a range of postsecondary options and gives them the support they need to thrive after high school.”

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