Higher-education advocates hope that by sharing the message of successful students and bringing together community supporters, soon-to-be graduates might think more seriously about enrolling in college – and sticking with it.
The College Success Summit at 4 p.m. today at Indiana Tech will include a panel discussion, student comments and a presentation by Teresa Lubber, Indiana commissioner for higher education.
The event is hosted by Allen County’s College Success Coalition, which started in 2010 and includes representatives from more than 30 local businesses, service clubs, schools, churches, libraries and other agencies, working together to help students succeed in college, according to committee co-Chair Jamie Garwood.
Garwood is the director of development and programming for the Fort Wayne Urban League.
Garwood said she hopes the summit will continue a conversation that the coalition has begun by digging through data to determine the issues.
What we want to do is raise some awareness about where we’re at (in Allen County) and how we can work together as a community to set some goals, she said.
In Allen County, 67 percent of the students graduating in 2011 entered a public or private college in the United States in the year after graduation, according to data provided by the Allen County College Success Coalition.
Of the Allen County class of 2008, the on-time completion rate for students was 13 percent, according to Lubbers. This includes students who completed bachelor’s degrees in four years and associate degrees in two years.
We want to make sure parents and kids can make proactive decisions about taking college credit courses in high school even before they graduate so they can enter freshman year with some already in the bank, Garwood said.
During the summit, Lubbers will give information about how Indiana ranks in student success and what that means for the future.
Currently, 35.5 percent of Allen County residents age 25 or older have an associate degree or higher, Lubbers said.
Although that’s higher than the state’s average of 33.8 percent, it’s a far cry from the goal.
Indiana’s goal, our goal, is 60 percent of Hoosiers will hold an associate degree or beyond by 2025, she said.
Lubbers also plans to talk with local leaders about how to align efforts to help students.
We want to partner with these local communities in their efforts to promote college success, Lubbers said. I’ll also provide an overview of the compelling reasons why higher education is more important than ever to those individuals and to our state.
The panel discussion will include representatives from the Fort Wayne Urban League, Big Brothers Big Sisters, IPFW and the Questa Foundation.
At least two students are also expected to speak about their experiences in higher education, according to Garwood.
Garwood said Wednesday about 65 people had registered for the summit, but more are welcome.