In Oakland, a Program Changing the Way Kids Think About College
Not everyone grows up surrounded by parents and educators who nurture a desire to attend college. For students raised without key support systems, postsecondary education can be incredibly daunting.
To address this problem, Oakland, California educators created a program called the Oakland Promise initiative. As Jill Tucker writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, 10 centers, called “Future Centers” are set up across middle and high schools in the city, with the goal to create a college-going culture.
The centers have been open for two years, and early data shows they’re working. An independent study by University of Chicago researchers found that at the four high schools with Future Centers, an impressive 88 percent of students applied to college. (Schools without the centers averaged about 79 percent.)
The staff at the centers walk their students through processes like financial aid, registration, and help provide a picture of what life looks like after high school. The program aims to “ literally hold their hands down the path to get them into and through that college experience,” said Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf.
And the centers are just the beginning. City officials have launched what they’re calling the “Oakland Promise” that hopes to ensure by 2025 that 30 percent of Oakland’s ninth-graders complete college.