The Partnership’s efforts aligned with a growing community investment in Postsecondary Attainment are leading to strong momentum for Dallas County student achievement. While priority indicator data lags one to two years for this postsecondary area of the student pipeline, we are seeing strong progress with early indicators trending positively: 5 partner districts met or exceeded Dallas County’s ambitious 46% financial aid application completion goal, including a stand-out performance by Cedar Hill ISD which grew 14% points year over year. Commit! supported our partner districts and campus leadership with regular data analysis to targetedly prioritize and increase FAFSA completion, lifting up effective practices such as using student leaders as campus champions for FAFSA completion, and by supporting a continuous improvement process to learn and replicate what works.
These encouraging student outcomes are a result of the dedicated work of district leaders, counselors, college and career advisors, and nonprofit service providers. For these districts, the FAFSA increases demonstrate the power of community alignment around priorities and goals, and deeper and collective investment of time and resources to improve college access and success.
These efforts are producing momentum among partners going into 2016-17: four districts that collectively serve 3,508 seniors have joined the Partnership’s Impact and Improvement Action Network to receive results-based leadership coaching to strengthen their use of data to guide their decision-making – allowing them to better identify students who need support and to increase FAFSA completion rates. Additionally, Commit! is facilitating the strategy development of 22 local colleges and school districts to prioritize increasing dual-credit enrollment and reducing remediation by 5% by 2020, helping more and more college students persist and obtain a 2- or 4-year certificate.
Since the Partnership’s inception in 2012, Dallas County seniors have been impacted by growing investment targeted at improving College Access and Success in Dallas County, impacting thousands of under-resourced students through awareness campaigns and strategic interventions like financial aid workshops and Summer Melt text message reminders. These investments of public and private monies grow the number of seniors enrolling and persisting in postsecondary education and already has yielded a return for a better tomorrow for Dallas County kids.
Investments from the private and philanthropic sectors in Postsecondary Attainment and the positive impact already produced are changing the conversation and catalyzing additional funding, leading North Texas and the kids who need additional resources the most to a shared prosperity.