There is strong evidence to suggest the program is achieving important positive outcomes with regard to RFS’ comprehensive research agenda. School administrators, teachers, and program staff report notable increases in scholar motivation and leadership roles in class, and extracurricular activities and community service.
Perhaps most significantly, the program boasts:
• A 100%
high school retention rate
• A 95+%
projected high school graduation rate (with some district comparisons as low as 66% (
NJ State Governor Report on High School Education, 2012). NJ State average 83%
• On a 4 point scale, scholars average a 3.2 high school grade point average
of scholars are currently taking honors/advanced courses
of Class of 2017 scholars are enrolled in Advanced Placement courses (compared to 20% across the state of NJ and as low as 2% of students in some of their high schools)
• 100% of active Class of 2017 scholars have earned college credits
, compared to 5% of 11th graders nationally
The Rutgers Future Scholars program is a notable model of University-Community partnerships. To achieve one of our principal objectives, which is to develop an adaptable model encouraging collaboration in order to build collective efficacy, RFS has established effective University partners to accomplish:
• Development of a multisensory, interdisciplinary, and holistic program methodology and curriculum focused on the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Professional and Applied Sciences
• Provide relevant career exploration, internships, and exposure to industry professionals intended to bridge the connection from the classroom to the real world
• University and Community Partners include: Deans, Faculty, and Staff from the School of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, School of Social Work, School of Law, School of Public Affairs, K-12 Public School Districts, Undergraduate Mentors, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Undergraduate Admissions, numerous community-based organizations
• RFS has established firm partnerships and has attracted contributions from individual donors, as well as from corporations and foundations, including Merck Inc., AT&T, Geraldine R. Dodge, Ernst & Young, Target, The New World Foundation, NationalGrid, DiversityInc., TD Bank, New Jersey Resources, Community Foundation for New Jersey, Fund for New Jersey Victoria Foundation, Xerox Foundation, Wells Fargo, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance and Susquehanna Bank.
We anticipate reporting on additional outcomes being measured through this research agenda throughout 2012. In addition, the first RFS cohort will graduate high school in June 2013, at which point researchers will begin tracking Scholar performance and retention at their post-secondary institutions. Systems-Level Impact of RFS
The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia University has been engaged in a collaborative action research study with Rutgers University around the systems impact of the RFS program. Preliminary research (complete report, Fall 2012) results suggest that the RFS program has not only impacted the lives of the Scholars participating in the program, but has impacted Rutgers University as well as the school districts in which Scholars are enrolled. RFS has intentionally cultivated relationships with individuals and departments across the university, school districts, and community based organizations in order to leverage limited human and financial resources in support of Scholars, in many cases with a secondary effect of benefitting students with similar low-income, first generation backgrounds who are not participants in the RFS program.
Some examples of areas in which Rutgers Future Scholars or an RFS partnership has resulted in systems-level impact include:
• Expansion of availability of tutoring and mentoring in district schools as a result of RFS-trained tutors and mentors being made available to Scholars and, in some cases, to their classmates as well
• Building collaborative knowledge around supporting low-income, first generation students within districts, through ongoing communication of RFS staff with middle- and high-school guidance counselors and other school personnel regarding Scholars' developmental pathways and challenges
• Strengthening teacher professional development in districts across New Jersey as a result of RFS-initiated partnership with Rutgers University's (New Brunswick) Writing Center, where a heightened interest in training teachers on pedagogical practices for low-income, first generation student populations led RU to offer such professional development more widely across the state.
• Increased RU faculty awareness of the academic challenges facing low-income, first generation students in the high schools of Rutgers' home communities
• Building and strengthening the college access infrastructure at Rutgers-Camden through partnerships initiated by RFS campus lead and RFS program staff
• An RFS partnership with RU faculty led to creation of a credit-bearing mentoring class for Rutgers University undergraduates which concretely links the academic and public service elements of the university's mission, prepares the next generation of civically engaged leaders for the state of New Jersey, and provides mentors, tutors, and role models for Scholars as well as their classmates with similar low-income, first generation backgrounds, in district schools.
"Individuals with more education and have higher earnings, better health, are more economically independent, and less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Taxpayers benefit: income tax revenues are increased and government spending on health, criminal justice and welfare is reduced. And society benefits: firms have access to a more skilled workforce and there are fewer victims of crime."
Profiles have been calculated for those who participate in RFSP and this includes data on earnings, tax payments, government expenditures on crime and justice, government health expenditures, and welfare payments. All are enumerated according to present values.
The numbers are compelling:
The net gain in earnings, that is above and beyond the amount paid for a full-time worker not participating in RFSP, is $286,000 for male scholars and $253,000 for female scholars over their lifetime.
The direct gain to the New Jersey State Government is $70,000 per male scholar and $48,000 per female scholar. This is calculated by summing the increased tax revenue, the decreased costs of crime and funds needed for welfare, and the savings due to better health. In a time of budget deficits and fiscal turmoil, these savings cannot be ignored.
Most strikingly, the total fiscal gain of the Rutgers Future Scholars Program to NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS is a whopping $203,000 per male scholar and $110,000 per female scholar. This again, is calculated by viewing the increased taxes, decreased crime, improved health, and almost non-existent reliance upon social services such as welfare. This does not even address the savings gained by the federal government as a result of higher taxes and lower spending.
We urge our state representatives to support initiatives such as RFSP that improve the futures of our promising youth and generate funds that our state so desperately needs.