Each year, approximately 1.3 million American students fail to graduate high school—this means that two students drop out every minute! More than half of these students are from minority groups. Not only does this significantly decrease the potential earning power of these students, but it creates many problems for society as a whole. Students who drop out are more likely to commit crimes, live in poverty, and have a lower quality of life.
A report from the documentary series Frontline claims that dropouts cost society an average of $300,000 per year per dropout. Utah has not been immune from this educational disaster, and that is where Teens Act comes in.
Needs in OUR Community, Provo, Utah
During the 2014 school year 6,460 students dropped out of high school in the state of Utah. The school boundaries of Provo School District are particularly at risk. Over 100 seniors didn’t graduate, and more than 375 students dropped out in the Provo school district alone. Almost 50% of students in the Provo School District come from low income families; 77% of students at Independence High and 42% of students at Provo High School are currently on free or reduced price lunch. Research indicates that 40% of eligible students fail to claim their Pell Grants, and it is crucial to assist these low income students in accessing funds and making college an attainable goal.
Our program provides services to a diverse population of students. The students who qualify for our program are primarily minorities and many are native Spanish speakers. Center for Education Statistics’ Beginning Postsecondary Study (BPS:96/01) indicates that low-income, first-generation college students experience less success than their peers right from the start. In fact, low-income, first-generation students were nearly four times more likely to leave an institution of higher education after the first year than students who had neither of these risk factors. Working with students to overcome these barriers is essential for making change possible for both our students and the community.
The state of Utah has a goal that by 2020, 66% of its residents will have either a college degree or a technical certificate. We support this cause to improve our students’ lives and the lives of their families. We want to connect our Provo community with important resources to help their children succeed in school.