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Croton-Harmon Grads to Fan Out Across the Country

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The director of Croton-Harmon High School's guidance team announced that nearly all of the school's 139 seniors have chosen their institution of post-secondary education by this point in the year, and in the coming months those students will fan out across the country and New York.

Director of the high school's guidance team, Tanya Viola, said the financial piece of the puzzle has become more prominent in recent years.

"What I noticed this year, really the past couple years, they have been having a selection more financially feasible selection on their lists," said Viola, about students lists of possible schools.

Students are attending a vast array of institutions, from University of San Francisco, to Skidmore College to Westchester Community College. Viola said applications to State University of New York (SUNY) schools have increased and so has the competition for the attractive tuition price-point.

Whatever school students choose, recent studies have said time is not on a student's side. High schools generally don't track what percentage of their students take remedial courses when entering college, but Complete College America said 19.9 percent of students entering four-year institutions nationally need remediation.  Remedial courses can cause increased time in school, by requiring classes that don't count toward a degree.

The U.S. Department of Education found that 57 percent of students entering four-year universities finished within six years at the same institution, although there is considerable debate in the education community about whether this number accurately captures the complexities of part-time, commuter and non-residential student life. Additionally, New York State has some of the highest average student loan debt in the country, at an average of $26,271 in 2010, according to the Project on Student Debt.

"Really do a lot of research," recommends Viola to juniors starting the journey, "Visit the schools and compare each one, and also not get wrapped up with the name, the name brand. Because I know some students will frown upon a state school, or this name is better, to really look at the true fit for that student inside and outside the classroom," she said.

A positive trend Viola has seen over the last five years is increased time spent considering collegiate options.

"I think the students are starting earlier, even just with more general questions, and I think the parents are too, and I think it’s a good thing. I just spoke with a group of freshmen and they were thinking course selection," Viola said about choosing high school classes.

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