January 9, 2020

Information Gaps Limit College-Going Culture

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Learning about college options, what it takes to be ready for college, and identifying and applying to the institution that best fits a student’s needs can be a daunting process. This is particularly true for students and families who have limited access to resources and information about college. It creates an information gap that limits college-going culture. This is among the issues that College Success Arizona hopes to tackle with the drive to significantly increase the college attainment rate of students in our state.

Arizona’s student to counselor ratio is 905:1. The national average is 455:1. For first generation, minority, low income, and rural students, school counselors are often the only source of information students have on how to navigate the college application process. Without proper access to counselors, students are often ill-equipped to navigate the application and financial aid process on their own.

The surest way to secure the future of our state is to increase attainment in Arizona. To do so, it is imperative that statewide efforts prioritize all three higher education pathways (bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certificates) that lead to a formal credential. By increasing the number of Arizona residents who hold a certificate or degree, we can ensure that workers will have the skills they need to compete in the labor market while also ensuring that our state economy grows as a result.

To improve college awareness, access, and attainment, Arizona can:

  • Address the school counselor crisis that leaves many students without effective guidance about their college options.
  • Focus on providing broader access to information about all college options— including certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs—and the credentials required for careers in Arizona’s economy that provide economic stability and mobility.

To learn more, read our policy brief Understanding College Credentials: Expanding the Higher Education Pathways That Can Increase Attainment in Arizona and our special report How Information and Opportunity Gaps Limit College-Going in Rural Arizona.

Information Gaps Video