Every Delaware College-Ready Student Applies to Postsecondary Learning Opportunities
DOVER, Del. – All 1,466 “college-ready” seniors in Delaware's Class of 2015 applied to college or other post-secondary education programs with the help of the state's “Getting to Zero” campaign. According to the Delaware Department of Education, nearly 80 percent of them completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, an increase from last year.
“Getting to Zero” is a partnership between the Delaware Department of Education, school districts and charter high schools, counselors and the College Board that was launched in 2013 by Governor Jack Markell to boost the college-going rate among students who hit the college-ready benchmark of at least 1550 out of 2400 on the SAT. Before the launch of the initiative, only 82 percent of college-ready students actually applied to an institution.
“Throughout the country, we know that students with the potential to succeed in college never apply at all or don't apply to as many schools as they should,” Governor Markell said. “For many of them, college is not part of their family's experience or they are unable to overcome financial concerns. We can remove these barriers. Our public schools and teachers are focusing on getting our high school graduates ready to be successful in college or their careers. We must ensure they have the support they need to take the next steps – applying, finding financial assistance and then enrolling.”
The campaign began in the fall, with the Governor and Department of Education touring each high school to speak to students about the importance of continuing their education and training beyond graduation.
Throughout the year, counselors track the number of students who have applied, follow-up with those who haven't and help them apply for scholarships and organize FAFSA workshops. This year, every high school participated in College Application Month in October and November. This allowed seniors time during school hours to fill out applications with the help of volunteers. Also for the first time, all Delaware colleges waived their application fees for Delaware students who applied. Through the partnership with College Board, students who are low-income received fee-waivers to apply to as many as eight colleges depending on their SAT score range.
This is the second straight year that every college-ready student applied for college, post-secondary vocational training programs or the military. According to reports by Delaware high school counselors, 98 percent of those who applied last year took active steps to enroll and one percent entered the military after graduation. In the Class or 2014, about 77 percent of college-ready students completed the FAFSA.