High schools like to brag about how many students they graduate and how many of those students are headed to college in the fall.
But once those graduating seniors receive their diploma, for many schools, their work is done. The support these students have grown accustomed to throughout high school disappears.
For many students, particularly low-income minorities who are the first in their families to attend college, the work is not done. They’re still figuring out how to pay for college, where they want to go or how they’re going to get to class everyday.
Statistics show a lot can change in a few months and that many students who intend to go to college in the fall don’t actually enroll.
Education groups call the issue “summer melt.”
In 2013, 90 percent of 15,000 Central Texas high school graduates planned to directly enroll in college, but only 62 percent showed up to the first day of class, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Three years ago, the chamber started a counseling program to help at-risk students enroll by the fall.
This summer, KUT is following three or four local high school graduates who say they will start college in the fall but face a lot of obstacles before they enroll in classes. We’ll be tracking their progress on this site and on our Tumblr page, and hopefully hearing from them directly.
This week, we’ll introduce you to the students one by one. Stay tuned.