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New Report Shows Changes in Scholar Enrollment During COVID-19

Today, we released our second report in a series that we're publishing this year on what we’re learning about our Scholars’ journeys toward a college degree. Scholars are Atlanta Public Schools graduates who qualify for need-based Achieve Atlanta scholarships to attend an eligible college, university or technical program.
 
Our latest report on our Scholars, Scholar Enrollment During the COVID-19 Pandemic, summarizes enrollment trends this year compared to prior years.
 
Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Last fall, Achieve Atlanta welcomed 774 Scholars into its incoming 2020 cohort. While this represented a 5% decrease from the 2019 cohort, it was smaller than the 11% reduction nationwide for low-income students in the class of 2020.
  • The share of first-year Scholars enrolling in four-year degree programs increased from 74% to 88%. Much of this shift is likely due to most colleges and universities waiving SAT/ACT testing requirements and minimums for admissions. Institutions offering four-year degree programs tend to have higher persistence and graduation rates than two-year or technical institutions.
     
  • Despite enrolling in institutions with higher persistence rates, 76% of Cohort 2020 Scholars returned for the spring semester, 12 percentage points lower than for Cohort 2019.
     
  • In contrast to first-year Scholars, those enrolled in college prior to the pandemic maintained enrollment patterns similar to those of past years.
     
  • Given the significant drop in persistence from fall to spring for Cohort 2020 Scholars, AATL is collaborating closely with our non-profit and college partners to re-engage first-year students and help them return to college in fall 2021.
     

In the weeks ahead, we’ll publish follow-up blog posts that explore key themes from the report, including how our partners have adapted to keep students enrolled, why many first-year Scholars did not return for the spring term and how students’ expectations of college compared to reality during the pandemic.

Click here to read the full report
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