Idaho has 15 colleges, universities and private institutions, like BYU-Idaho and other private universities. A recent study ranks Idaho below the national average, 40 percent, of young adults to pursue an associate degree or higher.
In Idaho, 33 percent of young adults go on to higher education, according to Idaho Voices for Children’s 2015 Census Data Highlights.
“There seems to be a direct correlation between poverty, ethnicity and public assistance — and rural versus urban classifications — and the percentages of success we see in post secondary education,” said David Peck, a professor in the BYU-I Department of History, Geography and Political Science.
Merilee Sorensen, a fifth grade teacher at Madison Middle School said the No. 1 factor for student success is the parents involved.
“Those kids who don’t have that support from home, those are the kids that struggle academically,” Sorensen said. “So if it’s starting this young, by the time they get to high school, many of those children have probably struggled most of the way through school and don’t want to go on to get a secondary education.”
Marcus Hernandez, a sophomore studying business said having a degree will make sure his family is more secure and stable.
“It just provides a better life for my family,” Hernandez said.
Peck said that although these percentages are low, Idaho is progressing.
“I think Idaho has been increasing statistically; it’s slow, but there is an increase,” Peck said. “And frankly, I think that as the state becomes more urbanized, that influence is going to grow. I think that there needs to be targets placed on certain areas and solutions devised to help people that live in those areas.”