Talent Dividend Work

In Rochester, college degree completion starts in high school

Related Tags

Upon joining the Talent Dividend competition, Rochester, NY, faced a number of big opportunities to increase college degree-completion rates among city residents.
Data from the American Community Survey conducted between 2007-2009 showed that while 87.3 percent of Rochester 19-year-olds held high school diplomas, only 27.8 percent were going on to complete bachelor's degrees by the age of 24.

The discrepancy motivated city leaders to participate in the Talent Dividend competition and set goals for citywide degree completion. Currently, 19 Rochester institutions work in collaboration with the city's School District Counseling Department, Education Foundation, Community Foundation, Monroe County School Boards Association, and several other community-based entities, planning initiatives, conducting research, and making decisions that will impact not only Rochester's immediate college-completion numbers, but drive enthusiasm for higher education well into the future.

The group's recent strategies have included completing a report, Making College Attainable for Rochester City Students, which contains an inventory of local programs that support college enrollment and degree completion, as well as a national cross-section of best practices that have involved the community-wide efforts and "promise"-type programs that Rochester hopes to employ going forward.

Rochester has also launched a local College Access Network.
Efforts in Rochester are largely concentrated at the high school phase of the student lifecycle.

"All colleges employ retention strategies," says Edward Doherty, vice president of community programs for the Rochester Area Community Foundation. "Getting more high school students interested, and supporting them to get into college and succeed, is a current high priority."

It appears to be paying off. Doherty notes a 5.9 percent growth in degrees granted by Rochester-area colleges since the program's inception. He suspects that figure reflects recent attempts on the part of area institutions to meet the changing needs of the Rochester community, improving and expanding their facilities where necessary and offering a wider range of programs, among additional efforts.

Source: Ed Doherty, Rochester Area Community Foundation
Writer: Hannah Purnell

Signup for Email Alerts
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts