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Educators Work to Stave Off ‘Summer Melt’

Low-income and first-generation college students, in particular, can lose momentum when they leave the support system of high school. They are at risk of a phenomenon that educators call the “summer melt”—when students who leave high school with college plans never make it to campus in the fall. Cost, anxiety about leaving home, and difficulty understanding all the college forms and requirements are among the most common reasons that students drop off the college track over the summer. Researchers Benjamin L. Castleman and Lindsay C. Page recently reported that the summer melt can be as high as 40 percent in some urban districts and 10 percent to 15 percent for students nationwide.