May 23, 2018
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Year-end evaluation findings for students participating in College For Every Students

Evaluation Documents High Aspirations,

High College-Going for CFES Scholars


Year-end evaluation findings for students participating in College For Every Student (CFES), a national program designed to help low-income students get to college, show encouraging results amid some disturbing trends.


A random sample of 1,956 students in grades 6-12 participating in CFES programs across the country showed high aspirations among respondents. The 12-question survey measures college readiness by asking students their views on school, college, and their future and about the impact of CFES practices. Consistently, the CFES students, or CFES Scholars as they are known, scored 15 to 20 percentage points higher than a control group of students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.


Aspiration findings, confirmed by an outside evaluator who compiled and analyzed the survey data, are being played out by CFES Scholars.  Of the 1,633 Scholars who were high school seniors this spring, 97 percent are headed to college this fall. These students hail from 44 schools in nine states. 


CFES currently works with 15,000 students in 130 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Ninety percent of CFES Scholars live at or below the poverty line and would be the first in their family to attend college. Research has shown that students from low-income families – the targets of CFES programs – face significant obstacles on the path to school and college readiness. This shortfall is reflected in low academic performance, aspirations, and high school graduation and college-going rates, which are less than 20 percent nationally for students in this demographic. 


Despite the impressive showing among participating students, CFES officials expressed concern. “We are delighted to have the largest number and percentage of high school seniors headed to college and to see gains across the board, but certain subgroups are lagging behind their peers. We continue to be concerned about our rural students and our young men,” said Rick Dalton, president and CEO.


Aspiration findings were consistently lower for rural students as compared to their urban peers on all questions. Also, rural students – who represent about 20 percent of the CFES Scholars and are from 34 percent of the schools that CFES serves nationwide – had significantly lower college-going rates than their urban counterparts.


Similar disparities exist between male and female students. Aspiration scores and college-going rates were lower for males than for females from all regions of the country. “These findings mirror what’s happening nationally, and it’s the reason we’re putting special emphasis on a single-gender approach in many of our schools and offering enrichment opportunities for our rural children,” said Dalton.


For further information about the evaluation or CFES in general, please contact Rick Dalton, president and CEO, at 802-236-1235 or 

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