Serving students from low-income families in Asheville, NC, on the campus of Carolina Day School

The Challenge

All children deserve the opportunity to succeed. But it’s harder than ever to find a path out of poverty without a college education or technical training.

  • The achievement gap between students from low-income communities and their more advantaged peers is growing at a faster pace in North Carolina than in any other state in the nation.
  • In 2015, North Carolina’s average high school graduation rate was 85.6%, but it was only 79.6% for children from low-income families.
  • One in five North Carolinians live in poverty. One in four North Carolina children live in poverty, and more than one in ten live in extreme poverty.
  • In 2013, the United States crossed a threshold: low-income students comprised 51% of the children attending public schools. In North Carolina, 53% of public school students live in poverty—the 15th highest among the 50 states.
  • In 2014, the NC General Assembly cut $9.3 million in funds used for specialized programs designed for students who are at risk of failing or dropping out.
  • By the time low-income students arrive in kindergarten, they’re already months behind their more fortunate peers.
  • Low-income students are six times more likely to drop out of high school, and fewer than one third of them will enroll in college.
  • It’s harder than ever to find a path out of poverty without a college education or technical training.
  • Limited opportunity for any of us means a limited future for all of us.