Across the country, relentless financial pressures are forcing public school leaders to make the most difficult choices about programs and staffing in their districts. As reductions in state and local budgets cause funding shortfalls, school systems are trying to save dollars wherever they can. While scaling back some programs is inevitable, recent news stories about deep cuts in high school counseling positions are especially disturbing. In these times of economic stress, students need college counseling more than ever.
Options for college have become more complex, and these factors affect every young person in high school today, especially those who are lower income or first-generation college students. To help them make the best choices and enable them to pursue their dreams at an institution at which they can thrive, students need the support and advice of dedicated college counselors in their high schools.
Those of us in the college admission profession regularly see ways in which the presence of counselors impacts student readiness and aspiration beyond what they can get in the classroom or through curriculum. That impact will surely have a role in our meeting the state’s 40-40-20 goals. Currently, in Oregon, the public school student-to-counselor ratio is 553:1, which is above the national average of 471:1, according to U.S. Department of Education data, and vastly above the recommended ratio of 250:1.