LISBON - A grant earned last year by the Columbiana County Educational Service Center (ESC) has gone toward tracking how many county high school graduates are pursuing higher education, where they enroll, and whether they go on to earn a college degree.
ESC consultant Steve Stewart presented the board with the National Student Clearinghouse report at its recent meeting. The Clearinghouse is a non-profit organization that has access to national enrollment and degree records for participating entities. The ESC submitted information on county high school graduates for 2007 through 2012.
Each district also receives its own individual data, and Stewart said the data will help the ESC and county districts with earning more grants in the future.
"Everything is about data ... this is good information for grant writing," he said.
According to the Clearinghouse report, more students enrolled in college immediately after high school in 2008 than between 2007 and now. Fifty-seven percent of graduates enrolled in college in 2008 and of those, 43.7 percent continued on for a second year.
On average, about 54 percent of graduates enrolled in college in 2007 through 2012 and about 1 in 5 (18 percent) of students who graduated in 2007 actually completed college, which is "not the greatest," Stewart said.
He did note, however, that graduates opting to join the military, Peace Corps or other services have an influence on the results since they aren't immediately pursuing higher education.
The data also revealed that students who graduated from high school this year are attending local universities like the Kent State Salem and East Liverpool campuses and Youngstown State University as opposed to those out of state, although the Pittsburgh Technical Institute is attracting more county students.
More high school students are also participating in the Seniors to Sophomore program implemented in 2008 through grant funding.
All 11 county schools, the Buckeye Online School for Success and three districts in Mahoning County participate in the program.
Students can attend four courses, or 12 credit hours, at the KSU campuses in Salem and East Liverpool for college and high school credit.
The program began with 61 students in 2008 and has gained momentum since then. As of this fall, 222 students are participating - up 43 from the fall semester of 2011.
From 2008 until the spring semester of this year 48 percent of students earned "A" grades. Five percent of students earned "D" and "F" grades, which Stewart attributed to students who simply "didn't show up" for class and didn't turn in assignments.
Although the program is offered at no cost to students, they or their parents are required to pay for a failed course, he said.
The program saves roughly 284 full-time students a total of $2.2 million a year for 32 semester hours.
To participate, a junior or senior high school student must score "college ready" on the college placement test as defined by Kent State University.