How Australia Beats The U.S. For Graduating Low-Income College Students
Career College Central summary:
Forty percent of Australians ages 25 to 34 whose parents did not earn a degree have themselves graduated from college. In the U.S., the figure is just 14%. Here’s how the Lucky Country became a leader for social mobility among developed nations.
Students in polos and plaids streamed into the auditorium at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) as Lorde’s “Royals” blasted on repeat. While she sang about having “no post-code envy,” hundreds of low-income high school seniors and students who would be the first in their families to go to college took their seats. Ahead of them was a day of panels and information sessions on college and careers put on by Fast Forward, a UWS program that reaches out to economically disadvantaged groups.
They listened as the keynote speaker, UWS professor James Arvanitakis, told them about attending his first class — bringing a Tupperware container full of lamb so he could make friends and a passport in case he needed identification. No one in his family had ever attended university and no one knew what he should take with him.
Thanks to Fast Forward, a federally funded program started in 2004, the students at the conference will be more prepared. In 2013 half of participating high school seniors went straight on to a bachelor’s-degree program at a university. At least another 20% had plans to get into the schools through nontraditional routes such as technical education programs or preparation courses.
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