It’s hard to believe the new academic year is
already here. We had an unusually busy summer,
particularly because the Advanced Placement Annual Conference was held in San Antonio in mid-July. The conference was a big success, and I was pleased to see so many of you from the
Southwestern Region attending.
At this time each year we get a report — The College Board’s 2009 College-Bound Seniors — that provides academic, demographic and socioeconomic information about students who took the SAT in 2009. This year’s group of participants was the most diverse yet, with minority students constituting 40 percent of students taking the test. Hispanic participants represent the largest and fastest-growing group of minority participants and now account for 13.5 percent of all SAT takers, compared to 7.8 percent 10 years ago. In 2008, 38 percent of test-takers were minorities, and in 1999 minorities constituted 29.2 percent of those taking the SAT. This tells us that we are making a real difference through our efforts to reach all students and help prepare them for college success.
Other national findings show that, among this year’s participants, more than one-third reported that their parents’ highest level of education was high school, and a quarter reported that English is not exclusively their first language.
In the Southwestern Region, self-reported information indicates we also had record numbers of minority students taking the SAT and planning to attend college. In Texas, more than half (52.4 percent) of the record 141,733 students taking the SAT were from minority groups. This is a significant increase from 41 percent in 2004. The number of Hispanic students in Texas taking the SAT has more than doubled since 1999 (from 20,854 to 42,695). In addition, 42.4 percent of Texas’s SAT takers say they will be the first in their families to go to college. The news was similar in New Mexico, where 43.4 percent of the 2,209 college-bound seniors who took the SAT were minority students — an increase from 31 percent in 2004. In addition, more than 22.6 percent of New Mexico’s SAT participants will be the first in their families to go to college. In Oklahoma, 30.7 percent of those who took the SAT were minority students, up from 23.3 percent in 2004, and 18 percent of Oklahoma’s SAT takers will be the first in their families to go to college.
Another recent report, coauthored by College Board Senior Policy Analyst Sandy Baum, is How Much Are College Students Borrowing? This analyzes information about students who graduated in 2007-08 with an associate or bachelor’s degree or a certificate. While 41 percent of them graduated with no debt, the number who graduated with debt increased from 54 percent in 2003-04 to 59 percent in 2007-08. The largest increases were found among the students who earned certificates and two-year degrees. For more information, you can access the full report here.
Don’t forget to register for Forum 2009, which will be held in New York Oct. 21–23.
Click here to see events and workshops in the Southwestern Region.
During this pivotal time in our nation, the College Board invites you to join us for two special opportunities to connect with education professionals dedicated to effecting change and increasing college readiness.
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