Low-income and minority children face insurmountable obstacles that make finishing high school difficult and going to college almost impossible. Right now, almost 60% of Florida children are living in poverty and the numbers are increasing every year. Often times children are overlooked and underserved. Most of these students face a bleak future as they do not have the resources offered to their peers from higher socioeconomic levels to complete their education.
We know, economically, higher education will be critical for individual economic success. College graduates in comparison to those with only a high school diploma:
However, most of Florida's youth in poverty will never complete college. According to data from the state department of education:
Individually, these numbers are startling, but there impact on the state of Florida will be staggering. Our state lags behind others on the number of college graduates needed for a strong economy. Research by the nationally-known Lumina Foundation suggests that 60% of Floridians should have some sort of post-secondary degree by 2025. Yet, we are currently at 37.8% and at our current growth rate will only have 42.8% of adults with a post-secondary degree by 2020, putting us far below what will be needed for a strong, competitive economy.
Today, the demand remains strong for the type of intervention that Take Stock in Children provides. If anything, demographic changes during the past 20 years have increased the sense of urgency: Growing wealth disparity means that many would-be students are being priced out of the post-secondary market as the cost of attending college rises faster than family incomes. For millions of Americans, incomes are stagnant or in decline. Research shows that this, among other factors, lessen the chances that academically qualified students will attend college and earn a meaningful credential. Never has there been a worse time to be educationally underqualified.
Our program helps to ensure that students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills they need to complete their postsecondary education and to successfully enter the work force.
Take Stock in Children is active in over 800 schools throughout the State of Florida. Students are selected between the 6th and 9th grades, many from minority families, and must meet our low-income and at-risk guidelines. Students are selected in their local communities by highly engaged committees that are comprised of education and civic leaders, as well as corporate sponsors. Take Stock in Children partners with community education foundations, community colleges and school districts throughout the State of Florida to deliver our program services to students.
The TSIC Difference
We are unique among college readiness programs in the US. We don't rely on mentoring alone. Every student is assigned a professional College Success Coach who provides:
The Coaches also monitor leading indicators of student success to identify when a youth is getting off track. They rally the student's family, school, and mentor to intervene and ensure the student completes high school and enters college.
Our model also indicates a Florida Prepaid Scholarship. The scholarship provides an incentive to students who invest their "sweat equity" in improving grades and investing the time needed to be fully prepared for college. It also ensures our students complete college with minimum debt loads.