HISD College Counseling

We use data to ensure that we are continually learning how to better support Houston residents in their quest for post-secondary success.

Education beyond high school provides expanded career options and greater opportunity for financial stability. However, students across greater Houston face numerous barriers to achieving post-secondary success. In 2015, Houston Independent School district (HISD) had 1,800 high school students for every college counselor, well in excess of the recommended 400:1 ratio. More than half of HISD’s 55 high school campuses lacked a full-time, dedicated college counselor. As a result, many students were unaware of their post-secondary options, including financial aid and scholarship opportunities, or enrolled in programs or institutions inadequate to their needs.

Houston Endowment seeks to strengthen the systems that support college readiness, access, persistence and completion. In 2015, we supported HISD in developing a comprehensive college counseling system including hiring additional dedicated college advisors to ensure that their services were available on all high school campuses.

Results from the first full year of the program were promising, with substantial increases in the number of campuses with fully dedicated college advisors and in the number of college applicants. One year of results, however, is insufficient to gauge the success of this initiative. The Endowment maintains a close working relationship with HISD to ensure that we are continually learning from this program. HISD is tracking key metrics such as applications submitted, requests for financial aid, college acceptances, enrollment, persistence, and scholarship and financial aid awards to ensure that real time learnings and modifications can be made to increase the effectiveness of the project. Additionally, an external evaluation of the initiative and its impact will help ensure that assessments are objective.

Houston Endowment is using data to ensure that we are continually learning how to better support Houston residents in their quest for post-secondary success.


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