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Local programs helping more San Antonians enroll in college

A multitude of universities pepper the metro, but as of 2017, less than half of local high school graduates were enrolling in college.

SAN ANTONIO — Local school districts have made great strides in the last few years. According to the SA2020 Impact Report, the high school graduation rate has increased to nearly 90 percent

However, after students leave high school, many are not enrolling in college.

Close proximity to higher ed is available across the city as San Antonio has close to a dozen universities and colleges. 

SA2020 reports the city had a goal of 80 percent of students enrolling in higher education after high school. However, that mark stood at only 47.7 percent in 2017.

The San Antonio Education Partnership is offering a program working to change those numbers. Café College works with students from elementary all the way up to high school in offering free services to help them navigate the college process.

“We’re a one-stop shop for all things college access,” said Zach Magallanez, an advisor and outreach coordinator at Café College.

Magallanez said many factors could be attributed to the lack of high school students going to college right after they graduate.

“There are so many things that a student has to know, so many deadlines to meet and so many colleges to research,” he said.

Magallanez also said the college journey can be a challenge for first-generation college students.

“They may seem intimidated by the process, but we try to work with each and every student along the way,” he said.

And while Café College is helping more students enroll in college, there are more than 300,000 adults in Bexar County who have college credit hours but have not yet earned their degree, according to Micaela Rios, program director for Upgrade, a program that works to help them reach the finish line. 

“There's a lot of folks enrolling in school but not always finishing school, because life happens,” she said.

Upgrade works with these adults, advising them on classes, career paths and other aspects of the college process.

“Similar to a school counselor before an adult is going back to school, we help people kind of sort through those options to figure out what's the best fit for them,” Rios said. 

In addition, the Upgrade program could also impact the lack of high school students enrolling in college.

“In the household, if a child has a parent that has gone to college, that child is three times more likely to go to college,” Rios said.

Both programs are under the San Antonio Education Partnership and are community partners with the SA2020 organization.

You can learn more about the SA2020 Impact Report by following this link.

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