Cheyney University Blog

Increasing High School Graduation Rates, College Going & College Completion Rates

May 26, 2009

Increasing High School Graduation Rates, College Going and College Completion Rates Are Ways to Make the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Our Nation More Competitive.

Recently over the Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to review Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher Education. The data were both informative and a stimulus to recommit to the overall goal to increase the college going and completion rate of all Americans in higher education. If we stop progressing in higher education, we fall behind other countries. The authors of Measuring Up 2008 caution against “erosion of higher education” capital in America at a time when the Baby-Boomers are retiring and when we need more talent for a competitive workforce of the 21st century.

Additionally, Measuring Up 2008 pointed out that:

  • The United States lagged behind Korea, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, and Greece in college going rate with 34 percent of young adults ages 18-24 in America enrolled in college. Yet, for every 100 students enrolled, only 18 completed college.
  • There are gaps between groups of various Americans—when we are viewed (or grouped by) ethic/racial categories.

The authors of Measuring Up 2008 noted that acquisition of the knowledge and skills that a college education generally certifies also can be viewed as “our collective capacity to succeed in the knowledge-based global economy.” Further, it is noted that education and learning beyond high school helps one gain admissions into an array of careers and opportunities that enable a middle-class life—which is what most Americans pursue.

As I finish my 33rd year in higher education, my experience with students and families continues to re-affirm that exposure to a broad base of knowledge and experiences is necessary for many individuals to develop problem-solving skills, compassion, tolerance, judgment, and empathy that will enable them to live as productive and contributing citizens in our nation.

Thus, at Cheyney University we will work harder to inform high school students of the potential benefits of a college education by working with the School District of Philadelphia to offer dual enrolled classes to high school juniors and seniors to give them a “jump start” on college and to help these students develop the confidence to pursue higher education and proficiencies to perform well once in college.

Moreover, we will redouble our efforts to increase our college completion rates by strengthening our retention efforts for all students. We will use the success of our Keystone Honors Academy (with its 250 high-achieving students) as a model for how we can nurture a wider range of students from matriculation, through graduation, and to the workforce. Like the Keystone Academy students, all students can benefit from a higher education mentor who monitors their academic progress, helps them expand their cultural awareness, who recognizes the individual talents, and who celebrates their successes with them.

Further, we will increase significantly our academic programs in the Philadelphia area (at the Urban Site at 7th and Market and at workplace sites) to help adult learners complete their college education and renew their learning through professional development. We will offer both graduate and undergraduate academic programs at the Urban Site.

At Cheyney University, we will recommit ourselves to increasing the higher education capital of our nation.

Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph. D.


Add comment


It is good attempt towards improving the literacy ratio by the colleges.Undoubtedly good article posted by President Michelle R. Howard-Vital.
dennisjoe 5:19PM 09/03/09
Nice blog. Member me, Howard
Howard 5:16PM 08/05/09



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