Posts Tagged ‘higher educational attainment’

Poverty Rate in Alabama Remains Unchanged, Seventh Highest in US

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

F6_MP_2012New statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau find that the number of people living in poverty in the State of Alabama remained virtually unchanged last year, but according to a new analysis by Alabama Possible, the 2012 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) tell a mixed story about poverty and median household income in the state.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the official poverty threshold for a family of four containing two related children under the age of 18 as $23,283. The new SAIPE results, which were released on Thursday, December 12, find that Alabama is the seventh poorest state in the country with a statewide poverty rate of 19 percent; virtually unchanged from 19.1 percent in 2011.

However, Alabama Possible notes that when compared to the 2007 survey, poverty in the state remains well above pre-recession levels (16.6 percent). During the same 5-year time period, poverty increased in 56 of Alabama’s 67 counties. The increase was statistically significant in 19 counties, according to Census Bureau analysis. Five counties – Conecuh, Dallas, Marengo, Tallapoosa, and Winston – saw increases of more than 5 percent.

Alternatively, the median household income in Alabama grew during the same period. In 2012, Alabama’s median household income was $41,610, or $1,014 more than it was in 2007. At the county level, 42 counties saw increases in median household income from 2007 to 2012. The biggest increase was in Coffee County, which saw an $8,812 increase from $36,819 in 2007 to $45,631 in 2012. Of the 25 counties that experienced decreases in median household income, Talladega County had by far the largest, from $38,644 in 2007 to $34,785, or a decrease of $3,859.

“While it is disappointing that our poverty rate continues to be one of the highest in the nation, the increase in median household income may be a sign that more families are moving from meeting their basic needs to being economically secure,” said Kristina Scott, executive director of Alabama Possible. “Alabama has been working hard to increase career jobs and boost educational attainment. In particular, investments in education can take years, if not decades, to pay off in reduced poverty rates. However, they are crucial to ensure that our state can and will meet its tremendous potential.”

The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) combine data from administrative records, postcensal population estimates, and the decennial census with direct estimates from the American Community Survey to provide consistent and reliable single-year poverty estimates.

A complete chart of poverty rates, child poverty rates, and median household income in Alabama can be found at

To view SAIPE maps prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau, please visit:


Montevallo High School Juniors Go to College

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Last Monday, Montevallo High School juniors got a taste of college life when they visited APP Higher Education Member University of Montevallo.

The 40 Blueprints College Access Initiative students attended college classes, explored the historic campus, enjoyed lunch in Anna Irvin Dining Hall, and talked with faculty and students about the college experience.

MHS alumnus Dr. Jim Day welcomed the students to campus and shared his personal journey from high school to military, college, and career as a UM history professor.  Student Government Association members Rachael Swokowski and Shelby Mays also spoke to the students about their pathways to college.

Many students had graduated from the Blueprints early awareness program as 9th graders.  The 11th graders focused on specific details of the decisions they are making about their futures, including upcoming financial aid and college application deadlines.

Christina Morris was the Montevallo Blueprints valedictorian when she was a freshman.  After completing the college coaching program, Christina said that “as you go through life, you have to forge your own path, even though sometimes you have to go it alone.”

Mentor Ashley Humphrey, a Mass Communications major, said one of the lessons she learned was that “to get respect, you have to treat others with respect.”

The field trip concluded with a graduation ceremony to celebrate the students’ completion of the Blueprints college coaching curriculum. Kirklynn Hamby, who completed the most independent enrichment activities during the semester, won $50 to celebrate her achievements.

Thank you to Montevallo High School and the University of Montevallo for their work promoting a college-going culture. In addition, special thanks to Dr. Laurel Hitchcock, assistant professor of social work, and the students of her Human Behavior class for their service-learning partnership and to the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement for coordinating the day.



New Tracking Tool Uncovers Lack of Students Applying for Financial Aid

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Only 20 percent of Alabama high school seniors completed FAFSA

Birmingham, AL- The U.S. Department of Education last week unveiled a new tool to help high schools better track how many students are completing federal financial aid forms.

School and local leaders can now track how many students in each high school across the country are submitting and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the new FAFSA Completion Tool website,

Only 9,893 out of 49,510 Alabama high school seniors, or 19.98 percent, completed the FAFSA as of March 13, 2012. Previously, high schools estimated their FAFSA completion rate using self-reported surveys, which are typically unreliable.

Research shows a strong correlation between FAFSA completion and college enrollment.

“FAFSA completion helps students and their families access federal and most state financial support, including grants, scholarships, the lowest-cost student loans and work-study opportunities. The federal deadline for completing the FAFSA is June 30; however, many colleges’ priority deadlines have already passed,” said Kristina Scott, Executive Director of the Alabama Poverty Project.

Alabama’s median household income is $9,508 less than the national average. According to the Southern Education Foundation, 60 percent of that gap is due to Alabamians’ low educational attainment. For every dollar earned by individuals with bachelors degrees, high school dropouts only earn 32 cents and high school graduates only earn 51 cents.

College graduates elevate their personal earning capacity and bring nearly $1 million in spending power back to their local communities. Educational attainment is also a key factor in employers’ site location decisions, which in turn can create a healthier economy statewide.

The FAFSA Completion Tool will be updated every two weeks.

About the Alabama Poverty Project (APP):
Alabama is the nation’s third poorest state. Nearly 19 percent of Alabamians – and more than 27 percent of children – live below the poverty line. The Alabama Poverty Project (APP) is a nonprofit resource center that mobilizes Alabamians to reduce poverty via strategic partnerships with higher education institutions, community partners, policymakers and faith-based organizations. Founded in 1993, APP equips Alabamians to increase college access, fight hunger through learning and service, and one day end systemic poverty in Alabama. For more information, visit