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October 20, 2005
New Online Planning Tool Available to High School Students
Tool aims to help students qualify for postsecondary programs and increase future earnings
TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced a new online academic planning tool for high school students aimed at helping students better prepare for college, other postsecondary programs and the workforce in ways that are likely to increase their future success and raise future earnings. The tool, the e-Personal Education Planner (ePEP), launches today on FACTS.org, Florida’s official online student advising system.
"With the significant increases in enrollment in AP classes and more high school students taking the SAT, it is clear that students are recognizing the importance of planning for higher education," said Governor Bush. "e-PEP is an incredibly useful tool, allowing these students to better chart their course for future success."
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by 2010, 85 percent of occupations will require post-high school education and training. Adults who have only a high school diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who have a bachelor’s degree according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"It’s more important than ever for students to plan ahead and work hard for their educational and career goals," said Commissioner Winn. "With today’s competitive work environment, students who take rigorous high school courses are not only admitted to and graduate from college in greater numbers, they also earn more in the workplace."
The new tool allows students to take a proactive part in planning courses for each year of high school. The planner offers course options based on student goals after graduation, such as admission to college, attending a vocational training center or going directly into the workforce.
FACTS.org has conducted training sessions at pilot high schools in Broward, Dade, Orange, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Duval and Leon counties to show students and guidance counselors how to use the online planner. The new tool was also previewed for more than 3,000 guidance counselors around the state during the State University System Admissions Workshop tour held annually each fall.
It is more important than ever for each high school student to have a carefully planned and challenging course of study. According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who take rigorous courses in high school will earn, by the time they are 27 years old, 13.1 percent more in wages than those who do not – whether they go to college or not.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, in 2000, showed that the median annual earnings for workers ages 25 and over were $24,267 with a high school diploma, $26,693 with an associate’s degree and $40,314 with a bachelor’s degree. That translates to a person with a bachelor’s degree earning 66 percent more than a person with only a high school diploma.
The new ePEP tool is expected to assist students throughout the state by allowing them to make informed choices about education options, defining their priorities and getting a realistic idea of the coursework that will be required to reach career goals. Guidance counselors can access their students’ planners online at any time and can leave comments for students.
"Since our counselor-to-student ratio is approximately 1 to 450, I’ve found FACTS.org to be invaluable in helping students plan and view their school and career options," said Teri Gimbel, guidance counselor at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee. "FACTS.org puts the student in charge of the planning process and allows me to spend more time with those who need individual attention."
Students who complete an ePEP by December 1, 2005, can enter a drawing for an IBM ThinkPad® laptop computer and leather backpack.
For more information about online advising tools, please visit www.FACTS.org or contact the Florida Center for Advising and Academic Support at 850-245-0518.
NOTE TO EDITOR: For more information on the educational and career benefits of planning a rigorous high school education, please see the attached statistical review.
Benefits of a Planned and Rigorous Education a Statistical Review
- In 2010, 85 percent of occupations will require some level of education and training beyond a high school diploma.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- The most important factor in college admissions is student success in the most challenging high school courses available.
Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling: 2003 Survey of College Admissions Officers
- Students who take rigorous courses in high school will earn, by the time they are 27 years old, 13.1 percent more in wages than those who do not - whether they go to college or not.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999.
- In 2000, the median annual earnings for workers ages 25 and over were:
- $24,267 high school diploma
- $26,693 associate’s degree
- $40,314 bachelor’s degree (66% more than workers with a high school diploma)
- Adults who have only a high school diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who have a bachelor's degree.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1999.
- Among students who go on to college, about 40 percent take at least one remedial course.
Source: The Associated Press, article by Ben Feller, February 8, 2005
- College students who need remedial classes are six times more likely to drop out than those who do not
Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999