STATS-DC – session – 55,000 More College Degrees

Date: July 28, 2011 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on STATS-DC – session – 55,000 More College Degrees

55,000 More College Degrees – Assessing the Barriers to Postsecondary Education to Close the gap on Educational Attainment. 

Louisville, KY has challenged itself to increase the number of degree holding citizens by 55,000 by the year 2020.  This will mean that 40% of working age Louisvillians will hold a bachelors degree and 10% will hold an associate degree. 

IQS Research performed the attitudinal assessment study that is being used by the 55,000 Degrees program.  Today Dr. Bob Rodosky and I are at STATS-DC making a presentation about the current challenges in Jefferson County (from a school system standpoint) as well as the attitudinal barriers that impact all students. 

There is a “plurality of thought” that exists within the minds of high school students today.  Perhaps this has always existed, we don’t know, but it certainly exists today.  This plurality is derived from a concurrent set of beliefs with high school students that:

  1. College is highly important.  Over 95% of  students indicate that a college degree is both necessary and important.
  2. College is not difficult.  Only 12% of students believe attaining a college degree will be difficult for them. 

Going further we find that 98% of students intend to go college. 

So what we have is a population of students who believe that college is very important but not difficult.  Whether or not they are actually prepared academically, they are rarely prepared to balance the conflicts between life needs and college needs.  When the reality of life intrudes, the process crumbles and often times, the student fails. 

But it gets worse…the adults in the community aren’t helping. As an example, adults also believe that college is highly important.  some 80% of adults believe this.  However, adults also believe that if you have achieved success without a degree there is little need to go back and get one.  Furthermore, there is an inverse relationship between the education level of the adult and the belief that everyone should get a degree.  There are also significant differences between the opinions of mothers and fathers.  Mothers express a protective nature for the child and often try to protect them from the demands of classes that push a student our of their comfort zone. 

 There is so much I could say but I will wrap it up here.  If you want to learn more, check out the links for a copy of the presentation slides, and the ICCHE handout.  

If you aren’t familiar with 55,000 Degrees in Louisville, please feel free to go to for more information.  From the main page you can scroll to the resources section at the bottom of the page and download our report as well as several other pieces of information.

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