[r63] Messmer Report: Back to School

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, August 13, 2010

In my opinion, the best thing about August is that it means September is coming!

This has been one of the hottest summers I can remember, but of course the big signal that it's over is right around the corner: going back to school.

If going back to school means college plans loom ahead, I recommend taking advantage of Indiana's free 1-800 helpline for students considering higher education. 

Learn More Indiana can be reached by calling 1-800-992-2076 or visiting www.learnmoreindiana.org. You can get the details on various college and career training programs, explore different careers, keep academics on track through grade-specific checklists, find ways to save and pay for college and more. 

Parents are always looking for after-school ideas.  Instead of rewarding completed homework with video games or TV time, try http://www.professorgarfield.org/, the world's most comprehensive free Web site for children.

The site offers lively, interactive and free "edutainment" games and activities that help to motivate and empower kids while addressing fundamental reading skill sets, all the while disguising learning as playing.

Since school seems to be on everyone's mind, I thought I would share some nationwide facts and statistics that are trending in education right now.    Two of my very own children are included in the 19.1 million people are projected to enroll in colleges and universities this fall, which is up from around 13.8 million 20 years ago.  Roughly 40 percent of K-12 students participate in sports these days. This is up from 34 percent in 1998, making sports the most popular extracurricular activity for our youth.

However, not all of these are four year degree programs; many students benefit from 2 year career technical programs, from institutions like Vincennes University, Ivy Tech and ITT Technical Institute.  

It's easy to be excited about the energy of a new school year, but that energy may be wearing thin come next spring.  

But if you're a senior who is less than excited about the idea of making it all the way to graduation, consider the fact that those without a high school degree make an average of $21,023 a year.   Those with a high school diploma make an average of $31,283, a bachelor's degree will earn your almost $58,613, and an advanced degree brings an average of more than $83,144 a year. 

Finishing won't be something that you'll regret. It will change your life, and opens many additional opportunities for you. I know it has for me. Feel free to contact my office at h63@in.gov if you would like me to provide you with our free publication exploring opportunities after your graduate.