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Does Income Inequality Need to Mean Educational Inequality?

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By Jason Weinstein.
Benaleo Daniels is the oldest of ten siblings and he wants to set an example for his family by going to college.

"I'm ready to set a bar higher for my younger siblings to show them that there is a possibility, there is a chance you can go. You just have to apply yourself," said Daniels, a senior at Binghamton High School.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that in 2013 77 percent of adults from families in the top 25 percent of incomes earned at least a bachelor's degree by the time they turn 24. This compares to nine percent from the lowest income bracket - a widening gap since 1970.

"Our students who have lower socioeconomic status (who) don't have the background that would say it's worth it to stick to it and complete it are going to have a greater dropout (rate)," said Binghamton High School Principal Roxie Oberg.

The Wall Street Journal reports 45 percent of children from families with the lowest 25 percent of income do enroll in college. The problem, four in five don't earn a bachelor's degree by age 24. The cost of college is a significant
barrier.

"I was scared to actually apply to go there because I didn't want to put my mother and father in debt," said Binghamton High School Senior Guerlins Joseph.

But so is needing the support system to help kids navigate all that goes into college - from application to graduation. That's the point of the Upward Bound program at Binghamton High School, which gets kids on Binghamton University's campus in the summer and helps them with everything from grades to applying for financial aid. The Binghamton Central School District has an 82 percent poverty rate.

"I didn't think it was a reality before this program because I wasn't really the best kid but due to this program I feel better about it. Way better," said Fabrice Charles, a senior at Binghamton High School.

"It's always working to make students feel successful and know they can be successful. The same strategies they used in high school they can use in college," said Oberg.

****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 HD News.****