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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Newark: To college, but not through college

Newark students are more likely to go to college, but only 23 percent complete a degree or certificate in six years, concludes a new report.

College graduation rates are much higher for students who attended Newark’s selective magnet schools, KIPP charters or St. Benedict’s, an all-male Catholic school, reports Chalkbeat’s Patrick Wall. The rate for students at comprehensive high schools, which don’t screen students, is 14 percent.

Source: “Post-Secondary Outcomes of Newark High School Graduates (2011-2016)” report. Graphic: Sam Park/Chalkbeat

The high school graduation rate is rising: It’s expected to be 78 percent or higher for the class of 2018, which would be a record for Newark.

In addition, the 23 percent graduation rate (degree or certificate) for the class of 2011 is “more than double the rate of the class of 2006,” Wall notes.

That is, Newark is improving from a very low base.

The city’s new superintendent, Roger León, hopes to improve the quality of instruction in the non-magnet schools and expose students to more challenging classes.

Some Newark graduates struggle with reading comprehension and have never written a research paper, Wilhelmina Holder, president of Newark’s Secondary Parent Council, told Wall.

KIPP Through College counselors help students choose a college that supports first-generation students and understand financial aid options. Counselors stay in touch to keep them on track to a degree. Yet, with all that, only 38 percent of KIPP New Jersey graduates earn a college degree within six years of high school, the report found.

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