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Helping Rural Students Overcome College Barriers

I've been blogging for the past few months about rural students and their low post-secondary enrollment rates. Rural areas lag the national average, with only 27 percent of their students enrolling in college compared with 34 percent nationally, according to 2004 data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Rural students face a number of challenges in taking the next step in their education—financial aid, inadequate academic preparation, and lack of knowledge about the college application process. One of the lesser-discussed difficulties they encounter are their parents and communities, who don't want to see them move far from home.

EdWeek gave me the chance to explore this issue further, and you can read the story here. I got the idea while attending the Southeast Regional Rural Education Summit in Nashville, Tenn., in July, which featured a number of speakers and discussions on this topic. I used some of those sources in this article.

It was a fascinating topic to research. Rural educators agree the answer to the problem isn't a quick one; it's a long-term change in the community's expectations and culture.

I'd be interested in hearing about any other college-access efforts being made by rural schools, so feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

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