Road Map Project raises goal but extends deadline for getting more students through college

Road Map partners acknowledge they are far from reaching their original 2020 goal and need more time to close achievement gaps for low-income youth and students of color.


Seven years after setting the goal of doubling the number of students in South Seattle and South King County who finish college or earn a career credential, the Road Map Project is increasing the target to 70 percent — and extending the deadline from 2020 to 2030.

Created in 2010, the Road Map Project is a regional partnership working to dramatically boost college-completion rates in seven school districts.

In the seven years since, the initiative has yielded some success: This past school year, high-school graduation rates for the first time reached or surpassed 75 percent in all seven districts. More graduates than ever before filed applications for federal financial aid to attend college.

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And 76 percent of students took at least one college-level course before graduating — a sign they are more likely to enroll and continue in college.

But Road Map partners acknowledge they are far from reaching their original 2020 goal.

“I might have been a little overly optimistic when we first began thinking about the rate of change that we could expect,” said Mary Jean Ryan, executive director of the Road Map Project.

“But we are starting to see now where people are really digging in and doing great work,” she added. “We’re starting to see the results come.”

According to Road Map’s latest annual report, released Thursday, only 31 percent of students in the Road Map region who entered high school in 2006-07 have earned a college degree or career credential by their mid-20s.

That rate inches up to 37 percent for white students and 40 percent for Asian students but plummets to 18 percent and 16 percent for black and Latino students, respectively.

Similar gaps persist in student…

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