It's no secret that it's becoming harder for people to find a good-paying job without a college degree.
Now there's a new initiative pushing for students to earn college credit before they even graduate high school.
Milwaukee Public Schools is partnering with UW-Milwaukee and MATC to launch a program called "M-Cubed". Its goal is to help students understand the importance of getting a degree while paying as little as possible for it.
MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver is first to admit students in her district are struggling.
"How are we going to fix this problem if we don't acknowledge we have one?" Driver asked.
Her honest head-on speech Wednesday gained cheers from the audience. Right now, only 58 percent of students graduate with a high school degree in 4 years.
Driver says some of the challenges start in 9th grade.
“When we look at our freshman class entering our high schools, 33 percent of those students are not making it on to 10th grade," Driver said.
The district says it is making progress with those numbers, and hopes a new partnership with UWM and MATC will help boost graduation rates.
One goal is to encourage students to take dual credit college courses in high school, which will help overall college debt.
"College graduates on average earned 56 percent more than high school graduates in 2015," MATC President Vicki Martin said. "This is the largest gap we’ve seen since the 1970’s.”
Another goal of "M-Cubed" is to help students apply for free financial aid. MPS says it hopes to have 60 percent of its 2017 graduating class fill out an application.
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