Despite efforts to improve the high school graduation rate in the United States, an estimated 7,200 students drop out of high school every day — a staggering 1.3 million every year. Further, a recent report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projects that by 2020, nearly 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require at least some college education, out of reach for those who are unable to earn a high school diploma. Much more comprehensive alternative education programs are needed that put dropouts and students at risk of dropping out on a path to earn high school diplomas while also providing them with the academic skills and support necessary to be successful in their postsecondary pursuits.
Gateway to College provides a comprehensive alternative education program in which students work toward earning their high school diplomas while simultaneously earning credits toward an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate. It is uniquely ambitious in providing struggling students with opportunities often reserved for the highest achievers, in the belief that high expectations and the right support can help more students complete high school and transition to college.
This report describes the implementation of Gateway to College. It has two main goals. The first is to provide an in-depth account of the Gateway to College model and to more precisely define the youth population the program serves. A clearer picture of the service population can provide insight into Gateway to College’s unique value and identify the students who might benefit most from it. The second goal is to describe the implementation of the Gateway to College model at three sites, assess the extent to which it is implemented as designed at those sites, and draw lessons for other Gateway to College sites.(Author Abstract)