City schools looking to build on college admission success

Mar 10, 2014

Last year was good and this year will be even better. That's the promise from the Buffalo school system which helped the college admission rate jump nine points, from 57 percent of graduates in 2012 to 66 percent last year.

It was a full-court press from the district, from Say Yes to Education to UB advisors on financial aid forms to school counselors. Associate Superintendent Will Keresztes says families have learned how it all works.

"Families are planning college now for 7th and 8th grade students, so we want to start giving them the tools  that they need to be successful in that process," Keresztes says.

Keresztes says every sub-group of students improved the college rate, even recent immigrants. He says they realized quickly after arriving how much stress the district places on career and college ready and bought into that.

A key factor, he says, was the teams which came out from UB to help with the financial aid FAFSA forms to put that last brick in the financial foundations of college. The forms aren't simple and UB people helped families get through it. The forms are expected to be simpler this year.

The associate superintendent says families catch on quickly to the emphasis in the school system on getting students college or career ready. He says there is also a learning factor, that students and parents who went through the college process this year know more about how to do it the next time, as well as younger students who went to college fairs and watched older siblings wade through the application process.