Get Us to College

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In 2010, only 39% of NYC public high school graduates reported they would be attending 4-year colleges. In 2013, only 13% of Black and Latino students graduated high school ready for college. In some of our communities, the rate is even lower, at 8%.

Starting in the 2011-12 school year, NYC high schools began being evaluated based on how many of their graduates enroll in college. UYC supports the Department of Education’s acknowledgement that high schools have the responsibility to prepare their students to enroll in and succeed in college.  But raising the standard without providing adequate support is unfair and doomed to fail. The stakes for schools are high:  schools that do poorly on their annual School Progress Reports are at risk of closure. Schools must significantly improve their college readiness and college enrollment rates, as the future of their students and their future as a school hangs in the balance.

UYC is calling for the following well-researched and cost-effective proposals to ensure that schools get the support they need to meet these higher standards, and to significantly increase the numbers of first generation and Black and Latino students enrolling in college:

  1. A system-wide survey of what supports schools currently offer students, and sharing that and other college access data with the public
  2. Adequate numbers of counselors to alert and help students when they are off track for graduation or college, and to help students learn about and apply to college
  3. Scaling up and supporting college access programs that work – Student Success Centers
  4. Providing support to students between high school graduation and college enrollment

“We have schools in NYC with one guidance counselor to 400, 500, even 600 students. How is this acceptable? This is not support!  We need to ensure that the new administration puts young people first. We need a pipeline to college and careers, and more guidance counselors is key in making this happen.”  – Ashley Payano, 17 from the Bronx


    1. The design and implementation, with public seed funding, of Student Success Centers, school-based college access programs that feature a peer-to-peer youth leadership model for promoting college-going among at-risk students.
    2. The 2014 passage of a law that requires the Department of Education to report data on the number of guidance counselors in every school, the ratio of guidance counselors to students in every school, the number of bilingual guidance counselors in schools, and the number of staff in every school that received training in the previous year in postsecondary planning and support.
    3. An early warning system designed to track students progress towards graduation.