More than a quarter of students attending rural community college (RCPC) in Florida are “uneducated”, according to a new study by the University of Florida.
The results of a national survey by the College of Rural Colleges (CRNC) show that only 16 per cent of rural students are enrolled in some form of a “degree”, which has “little to no impact on the education outcomes of rural children”, according the report.
The CRNC survey is the first to look at this issue.
The findings suggest that rural students lack the “knowledge, skills, and attitudes to earn a college degree” required to become employed and employ in the US, the researchers say.
This comes as the number of US rural schools continues to rise.
Last year, the CRNC found that just over 60 per cent (5,742) of the students attending RCPC schools were enrolled in a “college degree”.
In addition, the study found that only 7 per cent were employed and that many students who enrolled were “unemployed for long periods of time”.
This study is “part of a broader investigation into the economic and educational impacts of school in rural communities” and “provides a baseline of the economic challenges faced by rural schools,” the researchers said in a statement.
It also found that “few rural communities have access to the skills and knowledge required to make careers and succeed in the workforce”.
For students at RCPCs in the northern part of the state, this “lack of access” can have a negative impact.
“For some students, lack of access can have lifelong impacts, such as the loss of job opportunities, increased homelessness, or loss of educational opportunities,” the CRnc report said.
For rural students, it can also have “a negative impact on their academic achievement, and lead to lower earnings, higher rates of student debt, and reduced income”.
The study’s findings are important because “in many rural communities, students are expected to work and earn a living,” said the CRnton.
There are a variety of reasons why rural students might be “unable to earn, or earn well enough to survive” in a post-secondary environment.
In some areas, the school environment is less competitive than in urban areas, according to the CRnci report.
“In rural communities where students have a low-paying job, many students find it difficult to secure jobs that offer benefits and opportunities, such that many do not take up employment after graduation,” it said.
This lack of opportunities may also be exacerbated by “systemic discrimination”.
In the northern states, the “education environment is particularly harsh and has a high rate of unemployment”, said the study.
In other areas of the US rural education landscape, students can earn a degree or certificate “in their spare time” or “without the need to work”.
For example, rural students may be “out of work for more than a year”, according a 2015 survey by University of Missouri-Kansas City.
According to the study, the lack of resources “often makes students unable to make a living and face financial difficulties” as well as “involving social, physical, and sexual violence, poor health, and poor educational opportunities”.
There is also a “chilling effect” on rural communities due to “an absence of resources” and a lack of social services and community support.
These factors are “likely to lead to the negative impact of poverty and poverty-related violence on rural students and their families, including those who are at higher risk for such violence”, the CRnnci report said, adding that “there is a growing body of evidence that poverty can impact the health and well-being of students and others”.
“Many rural communities in the United States do not have access or are under-resourced,” the study concluded.
As a result, rural communities face “difficult challenges” to be able to make ends meet and “receive the educational opportunities that are available to them”.
It is important to note that rural communities are a small group of people, and therefore not representative of the country as a whole, the report said .