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HomeEducationHow Missouri Is Increasing College Enrollment Among Rural Students

How Missouri Is Increasing College Enrollment Among Rural Students

Key Highlights

  • Compared to the covid-19 pandemic, the US now has nearly one million students in college enrollment.
  • rootEd Alliance has developed a program that trains, funds, and places college and career advisors in rural high schools for rural students.

Despite the increasing enrollment decline at the nation’s community colleges, a problem complicated by the disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic, a new, straightforward strategy is proving to be effective in assisting many rural students in enrolling and succeeding in college.

Now, the United States has about one million fewer college students than during the pandemic. The declines have been incredibly steep at community colleges, where most rural students enroll.

Less than a third of adults in rural communities have received a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Increasing that percentage in an economy based on knowledge and advanced skills is becoming increasingly critical.

A deceptively simple program has been developed by a philanthropic organization, rootEd Alliance, that trains funds to address that requirement and places college and career advisors in rural high schools.

Those embedded counselors will help rural students, who are often the first in their families to consider college, develop and implement a plan for what they will do after high school, whether attending a two-year or four-year college, joining the military, or finding a good job.

The rootEd counselors help high school students develop individualized postsecondary education and training plans. Also, they identify financial aid opportunities and assist students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The counselors provide continuous support to students as they embark on their postsecondary plans, training them through the transition from high school to the next phase in their development.

rootEd Alliance was established in 2018 and is now expanding. It currently serves about 6,200 students in 56 rural high schools across Missouri, Idaho, Texas, and Tennessee. Since its inception, it has advised approximately 12,000 rural high school students.

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