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A college readiness tool that every district should use

The National Student Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker is an invaluable service that can help districts better prepare their students for college success.

college-readinessThe National Student Clearinghouse is a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 by the higher-education community to track students who received loans to help pay for college tuition. Graduate schools provide enrollment information, while the NSC verifies to lenders that students are taking the necessary course work.

Since expanding its services, the NSC currently holds records for more than 137 million students and 3,500 institutions of higher education, covering 98 percent of the current enrollment in both public and private colleges and universities. Today, the NSC continues to provide enrollment, diploma verification, and transcript services to students, lenders, and employers.

I first became aware of the NSC several years ago when Rick Torres, its chief executive officer, approached me about StudentTracker for High Schools, a new service his organization was offering. Through this service, the NSC provides U.S. high schools with the most accurate data regarding their graduates who have enrolled in college.

In my 27 years as a superintendent, the “college-going” rate consisted of information that students provided about the universities they were planning to attend, as well as surveys from high school graduates who self-reported they were attending college. At best, the data were spotty. With StudentTracker, however, a high school can get an accurate report of the percentage of its students not only enrolling in college, but also earning a degree.

(Next page: How one innovative school system is using the StudentTracker to improve students’ college readiness)

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