January 9, 2020

Increasing College-Going Rates in Rural Arizona

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In College Success Arizona’s efforts to increase the college attainment rate of students in Arizona, we particularly work for those who otherwise would not be able to attend or graduate. This includes tackling the opportunity gaps limiting college-going for rural students. In rural Arizona, a number of factors contribute to a diminished college-going culture. These include:

  • A lack of information about college options,
  • Concerns about college affordability,
  • Family influence, and
  • Inadequate preparation.

Notably, these challenges disproportionally affect students from groups underrepresented on college campuses, such as low-income students and Native American students living on reservations, who also experience their own specific challenges.

In Arizona:

  • 49% of school districts are rural
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 rural students are minorities
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 rural students are from low-income families
  • Only 53% of rural minority students graduate from high school

To improve college-going rates for rural Arizonans, the state can:

  • Develop and promote programs and policies designed to help students and families better understand their higher education options and make informed decisions about their future;
  • Ensure equitable and adequate K-12 funding to provide high quality education opportunities to adequately prepare students for college;
  • Maintain funding equalization for community colleges in rural areas; and
  • Create a new need-based grant aid program that provides flexible, portable funding to encourage and enable more young people throughout Arizona to pursue formal education credentials beyond high school.

To learn more, read our special report How Information and Opportunity Gaps Limit College-Going in Rural Arizona.

Rural Access Video