A report by the Lumina Foundation for Education shows that Michigan needs an annual 6 percent increase in the current percentage of adults with college degrees to reach Lumina’s “Big Goal” to increase higher education rates to 60 percent by the year 2025. To learn more about the current levels of education for Michigan adults ages 25 to 64 and see the percentage of Michigan adults (25 to 64) with a two- or four-year degree by county, visit http://www.luminafoundation.org/state_work/michigan/.
Knowing that education and skills to succeed in college and the workplace are essential, yet our Michigan youth population is not sufficiently prepared, Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon challenged a committee of MSU pre-college program directors in fall 2010 to develop common pre-college metrics and begin reporting against those metrics. Judy Ratkos, senior program leader in the Children and Youth Institute, represents MSUE on the committee. Committee members identified goals that MSU pre-college programs should meet, including increasing program participants’ overall interest in college, instructing participants in how to access college in some age-appropriate manner, and better preparing them for college by giving them the information and building skills necessary for success.
All MSU pre-college programs submitted a 2010 annual report using a common format designed to convey information about their audiences, funding, overall impact and other information. Find the reports at http://spartanyouth.msu.edu/precollege/reports.aspx. Click on each MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development pre-college program (4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp, 4-H Capitol Experience and 4‑H Discovery Camp) to read the reports on those events.
Additional 4-H program alumni college attendance numbers show that 4-H seniors who graduated high school in 2009 and 2010 attend college at about the same level as those who attended 4-H pre-college programs. (See graph above.) The proportion of 4-H seniors and pre-college attendees who attend college in the first or second year after graduation from high school was 20 to 35 percent greater than the average for all Michigan high school graduates. Future research will track the number of these students that also finish college. It’s interesting – and I’m not sure what the reason is – that a lower percentage of 2010 seniors enrolled than 2009 seniors for three of the four 4-H groups. Perhaps the 2010 class will show a higher percentage in 2011-2012, suggesting that some seniors take a year off before starting their college studies.