The percentage of Buffalo Public Schools graduates who continued their education after high school held steady last year, with 64 percent of the Class of 2014 going on to college or a postsecondary career program.
Now, leaders of Say Yes Buffalo say school and community leaders need to focus on ways to raise that number by better preparing students for life after high school – starting at the earliest grade levels.
“We have realized a significant increase in scholars from the Buffalo Public Schools matriculating in college and postsecondary programs since the launch of the Say Yes Buffalo Partnership, said Executive Director David P. Rust.
“That said, all students need services,” he added. “In addition to the financial support needed to attend college, the Say Yes Buffalo partnership is working around-the-clock to implement wraparound services and supports so that when the time for college comes, students are equipped to enroll and persist through their college and postsecondary programs.”
Those services will also be necessary to help increase a graduation rate that stubbornly hovers around 50 percent.
The figures were shared Wednesday morning with the Say Yes Buffalo Community Leadership Council, which is composed of a number of city and community leaders.
Although last year’s results were down slightly from the previous year – at this time last year, 66 percent of the Class of 2013 had enrolled in college or other postsecondary program – they remained among the highest rates in the last six years and higher than the national average of 61 percent.
Since information for the Class of 2013 was released at this time last year, the percentage increased to 68 percent because additional students enrolled in college.
For the Class of 2014, about 38 percent enrolled in four-year institutions and 26 percent in two-year institutions.
The information comes from the National Student Clearinghouse, which analyzes enrollment data at 3,500 colleges and universities.
Say Yes Buffalo is known for its scholarship fund, the educational initiative that pays college tuition for high school students. It is expanding to include services such as mental health and legal clinics that offer students and families other resources to which they otherwise might not have access.
The organization also has been involved developing after-school programs for city schools, and is now looking to find ways to extend the school day.
“I am pleased that with the scholarships and other supports provided by Say Yes and its partners that more kids in Buffalo have the opportunity to attend college,” said School Board President James M. Sampson. “We all have much work to do to ensure increased enrollment and success in college.”