The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on students’ higher education plans. Last fall, National Student Clearinghouse data revealed an alarming 22% drop in the number of students enrolling in college directly after high school graduation. At a time when economic mobility is largely defined by postsecondary credentials of value, the pandemic is threatening to deprive a generation of students of their best chance at a stable future. Without significant, immediate action, current high school juniors and seniors are at risk of becoming a “lost COVID-19 cohort.”
We have begun gathering examples of promising actions by states, districts, schools, higher education institutions, and others to boost support for students’ postsecondary transitions during this challenging time. Check back here to learn about innovative ideas emerging across the country.
Summer school and tutoring in Tennessee
Tennessee governor Bill Lee has proposed new summer school and tutoring programs to catch students up from learning disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
College prep with Texas College Bridge
Funded through CARES Act funds, Texas College Bridge expands summer advising support and provides financial incentives to students for completing summer coursework that enables them to place directly into credit-bearing courses upon college enrollment.
Tuition-free summer courses at NOVA Community College
Last summer, Northern Virginia Community College used CARES Act funding to offer free summer dual enrollment courses to students in fields with growing job opportunities.
Supporting Summer Learning in Rhode Island
Rhode Island used CARES Act funding to support summer learning (including 12th grade transition courses) and offered stipends to participating students so that they could consider learning their summer jobs.
Kentucky’s FAF$A for the Future TikTok Challenge
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and GEAR UP Kentucky teamed up to announce the FAF$A for the Future TikTok Challenge, which encourages high school principals and superintendents in Kentucky to get creative and post videos on the popular social media app to help educate students about the FAFSA process and urge them to apply.
Academic Catch-Up with the National Summer School Initiative
Last summer, the National Summer School Initiative (NSSI), which was swiftly designed by a coalition of actors from the education reform world as COVID-19 triggered nationwide school closures, was piloted with 12,000 students last summer with positive results. After its initial summer launch, NSSI has been rebranded as the nonprofit Cadence Learning, with the aim of extending its reach to new schools, and shows promise for use this upcoming summer.