Many of the nation's charter schools set up shop in low-income urban areas hoping to propel students who may struggle to finish high school—let alone go to college—into higher education.
But even among the students who make it to college, national statistics paint a grim picture of what happens after they get there: Just 11 percent of low-income, first-generation college-goers graduate in six years, according to the Pell Institute, a research group that focuses on access to higher education.
Even though many charters name homerooms after universities and hang college pennants in the hallways, their alumni still face a range of challenges once they reach college, from cultural to academic.
In recent years, however, charter schools—in particular, charter school networks—have started investing heavily in supporting their alumni beyond high school graduation.
"To be quite honest, my first semester was rough," said J'Remi Barnes, a 2015 graduate of Sci Academy, a charter school in New Orleans. Barnes is a freshman at Grinnell College in Iowa. "At Sci, they make sure you have the material down before you leave class, and if you don't have it, they make you go to a tutoring session. Here, it's on you."
Continue reading Some charters help alumni stick with college.