PROVIDENCE – Large gaps in college access and completion exist between low-income and high-income Rhode Island students, according to information shared at a Kids Count policy forum held June 20.
In 2010, approximately 64 percent of higher-income students enrolled in college following high school graduation, while only 37 percent of low-income students did so, said Kids Count Policy Analyst Stephanie Geller.
Between 2009 and 2011 in Rhode Island, adults with bachelor’s degrees earned a median income of $51,157, compared with $29,828 for those who had only high school diplomas, Geller said. About 4 percent of those state residents with bachelor’s degrees were unemployed, as compared with 12 percent of residents who did not study beyond high school, she said.
The figures are relevant, added Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, because by 2018, two-thirds of the state’s jobs will require education beyond a high school diploma.
Forum participants also shared data that showed that college completion brings better incomes and lower unemployment rates, and that an increase in college readiness, support in applying for financial aid, and assistance in combating the need for remediation can better prepare youths for success. •