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Why College?

Increasingly, students need at least some postsecondary education (i.e., a two- or four-year college or a certificate program) to succeed in their careers and as citizens. Consider this:

  • Nationally, the fastest-growing jobs between 2000 and 2010 require a postsecondary education.*
  • In DC alone, at least 40 percent of jobs require at least two years of college.**
  • The U.S. workforce is projected to face a shortage of 12 million college-educated workers by 2020.***
  • A 2006 analysis of DC public and public charter schools found that not enough of our students are graduating from college in a timely fashion. Out of a class of 100 9th graders, only:
    • 43 graduate from high school within five years;
    • 29 enroll in college within 18 months of graduation;
    • Nine complete college within five years; and
    • Three from Wards 7 and 8 complete college in five years.****

Benefits of College

The benefits of a postsecondary education for individuals, communities, and the nation are undeniable. College graduates — regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and family income — are better off than their peers who do not have degrees. Even people with two-year degrees are more likely to have a higher quality of life than those who have only a high school diploma.

A Top Priority for DC

Although not all students may enroll in postsecondary education immediately after high school graduation, students must have access to the academic rigor and habits of mind that are necessary for success in college and careers.

With so few DC students getting a college degree in a timely fashion, our students and their families are likely to have a lower quality of life. Not having a college-educated population also will have a significant impact on the social and economic health of the city.

To respond to this growing crisis, the Double the Numbers Coalition — including the mayor and city council; the chancellor of DCPS; the state superintendent; and representatives from the public charter school, college access provider, higher education, and business communities — has made doubling the number of students who graduate high school, enroll in college, and graduate college on time a top education goal for the city.

We plan to do this by creating a college-going culture and helping students understand the importance of not just enrolling but also graduating college.

*Williams, Adriane, and Swail, Watson Scott (2005). Is More Better? The Impact of Postsecondary Education on the Economic and Social Well-Being of American Society. Washington, DC: Educational Policy Institute, Inc. Retrieved 6-12-08.
**District of Columbia Employment Projections by Industry and Occupation 2002-2012, DC Department of Employment Services and Office of Labor Market Research and Information, June 2005.
***Paul Jude Beauvais, editor. The Fifth Freedom: Access to Postsecondary Education in America Today. Retrieved 6-12-08.
****Double the Numbers for College Success: A Call to Action for the District of Columbia.

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Malik graduated from Anacostia and now attends North Carolina A&T ... view video (:49)


Every member of the school staff plays a role in creating a college-going culture.