- October 22, 2014
State and local strategies for Cleveland’s Promise neighborhood
The path to higher education is rocky for children and their parents in Central Cleveland’s Promise Neighborhood (CCPN). A report released today by Policy Matters Ohio notes that only half (52 percent) of Central students who graduated from CMSD schools in 2005 enrolled in post-secondary education and none had received a degree within five years. Of adults in the neighborhood, more than a quarter (28 percent) lack a high school diploma or equivalent degree, and 25 percent are stuck with some college experience but no degree. Just 13 percent have attained an associate’s or higher level degree, compared with 36 percent for Cuyahoga County.
Parents have a big role to play in preparing their children for post-secondary and career success. There is a strong link between maternal education and children’s academic achievement. While intensive, holistic support is needed to overcome the kinds of generational and historical obstacles to opportunity that persist in the CCPN, programs designed to address the family unit are not the norm.
“A two-generational approach, that knits together services for kids with training and career opportunities for their parents, would help bridge this gap,” said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher with Policy Matters Ohio.
The cost of higher education and the burden of managing work, school, and family often pose barriers to degree completion. The state has a policy role to play in helping Ohioans, including Promise residents, access post-secondary education opportunities.
The Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) is the only state source of need-based grant aid. The grant helps supplement federal financial aid to make post-secondary education more affordable. Yet community college students, who more likely nontraditional students, are not eligible for the aid. Opening OCOG to community college students would be a step in the right direction, for Promise Neighborhood residents and the state. An investment of $84 million would fully restore OCOG to its pre-recession level of funding. Eligibility could be expanded to students at 2-year public intuitions with a $20 million investment.
“The cost of higher education is particularly steep for someone maintaining a household on a poverty-level income,” said Halbert. “Ohio can tip the balance of these competing demands towards education by increasing need-based financial aid.”
Policy Matters Ohio is a non-partisan, non-profit policy research institute,
on the web at www.policymattersohio.org.