Michigan 4-H improves college interest and readiness – Part 3: 4-H alumni attend college at a higher

4-H alumni attend college at a higher rate than same age peers.

Today – more than ever before – teens need access to programs that expand their horizons, allow personal growth and provide career exploration to get them on the right track for post-secondary education pursuit. This article is part three in a series by Michigan State University Extension about how Michigan 4-H improves college interest and readiness.

By the year 2020, 65 percent of Michigan jobs will require a career certificate or college degree according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.  Michigan has one of the top university systems in the nation with 15 public universities and 28 community colleges, yet only 37 percent of Michigan’s working-age adults (ages 25 to 64) have an associate degree or higher. MSU Extensions suggest the state needs to increase the number of its young people who are enrolled in and graduating from college. Higher levels of education among Michigan’s population will result in increased earnings, contributing to the state’s economy. 

Youth development and experiential education are research-based foundations used by Michigan 4-H to expose and prepare youth for post-secondary education.  Since 2009, Michigan 4-H has annually obtained college enrollment data for 4-H alumni through the National Student Clearinghouse. The bar graph shown below uses National Student Clearinghouse student tracker data for Michigan 4-H alumni from 2009 to 2012 to compare their college attendance rate with same-age Michigan peers.

 4-H alumni

Michigan 4-H alumni reflected above include 4-H Seniors (those enrolled in county 4-H programs) as well as participants in 4-H pre-college programs such as 4-H Capitol Experience, 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp and the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council.

StudentTracker, available through a subscription from the National Student Clearinghouse, is the only nationwide source of college enrollment and degree data. More than 3,300 colleges and universities — enrolling over 96 percent of all students in public and private U.S. institutions — regularly provide enrollment and graduation data to the Clearinghouse.  There is only one Michigan college with more than 1,000 students that does not report student data to the National Student Clearinghouse.

4-H continues to develop new programs and approaches to meet the changing needs of students and prepare them for successful transition to college and adult life. For more information and to get involved, visit the MSUE Extension website.

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