Getting to Zero
The Department of Education Mission
Every single student in our system will graduate college and career ready, with the freedom to choose his or her life’s course.
Every year there are Delaware students who have done the hard work to become college-ready yet don’t make it to college. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Harvard Strategic Data Project found that 18% of college-ready students in Delaware did not apply to any college or university. The goal of Getting to Zero is to get this number to zero, by providing the guidance and support needed to ensure that these students, who have shown the potential to succeed in college, apply and actually enroll in a post-secondary program.
What is being done to address this challenge?
Delaware's College Application Month dates are October 13–November 21, 2014.
November is National College Application Month. All schools are encouraged to offer college going activities during this month. Governor Markell proclaimed November 2013 as National College Application Month in Delaware. College Application Month (CAM) is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential. The Delaware Higher Education Office (DHEO) and the Institute for Public Administration at UD are leading Delaware’s CAM by providing volunteers and technical assistance to all public and charter high schools in Delaware for 2014. DHEO is partnering with organizations such as the American Council on Education and Stand by Me. Delaware's College Application Week was piloted in two schools in 2012, expanded to 20 Delaware schools last year, and all Delaware district and charter high schools will be participating in 2014.
Through targeted marketing campaigns and increased professional development we are raising awareness about the importance of FAFSA completion. During the 2013-14 school year, we partnered with the U.S. Department of Education on their FAFSA campaign month and with our local post-secondary institutions to provide professional development to counselors on financial aid and helped support the tracking process to monitor completion of the FAFSA. Financial aid information sessions were held throughout the state for parents and students. These efforts will be continued and expanded for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.
CELEBRATION OF COLLEGE DECISIONS
Celebrating student success regarding college acceptance is one way to create a college-going atmosphere for the entire school. Publicly acknowledging a commitment to postsecondary education or training will create awareness among younger students who may not consider going to college. Celebrations were encouraged at high schools throughout the state by creating displays to demonstrate where students were enrolling in college, holding assemblies to recognize these students, and distributing backpacks in partnership with the College Board that have the Delaware Goes to College logo to all college-bound seniors in coordination with National Decision Day.
Summer Melt refers to students who apply to college, complete their financial aid forms, get accepted, plan to attend, but never make it to campus in the fall. There are still many steps to take during the summer that can be challenging to students. The Delaware Department of Education's Higher Education Office has provided information and timelines to keep students on-track during the summer between high school graduation and starting college in the fall with important reminders regarding orientation, housing information, important form deadlines, and much more!