BOISE -- It's a statistic that Idaho's been fighting for years -- ranking at the bottom in the country when it comes to students continuing their education after high school.

Five years ago, the Gem State was ranked 43rd and several agencies started a campaign to improve those numbers.

But instead, Idaho dropped and is now ranked 50th in the nation.

In 2009, the Albertson Foundation launched the Go On campaign.

They were trying to raise awareness to push students to go on to college or trade school after graduation.

But now, the number of students doing so seems to dropping, as Idaho's rank in this category has dropped to last in the country.

Albertson Foundation's Executive Director Roger Quarles says it's an urgent issue that needs to be addressed now.

I think for us it's very frustrating and it's one thing to set and establish a goal or a criteria, it's a whole other deal to implement a plan to achieve that goal, said Quarles.

The Albertson Foundation has spent $11 million in scholarships connected to the campaign, and has given money to 21 schools to help them get started on programs to help educate students about their options.

One was Middleton High School, where they've seen success with the campaign.

Principal Mike Williams says the program their grant helped create is working.

We're seeing an increase in students getting that post secondary experience in the high school setting and that will lead to increase rates in the future, said Williams.

As for the ranking, Williams says it all depends on individual schools.

I get a little defensive about that 'Don't Fail Idaho' and that we're 50th, you look at what we're doing here locally and we don't' see those numbers, said Williams.

The Albertson Foundation says they're doing everything they can and are calling on others to do more.

I really think we need to look for leadership from our state board and our state department to make that happen, again, as a private family foundation, we think it's a privilege to put the resources with the talent, and let that talent do the work to ultimately create a different outcome for kids, said Quarles.

We took those frustrations to the Idaho Department of Education who said they are working to address the issue.

Their plans include a new fast forward program to help students pay for college classes during high school.

Matt McCarter is the director of student engagement and says the Legislature and state agencies recognize that it's a problem that must be fixed.

It really provides a lot of urgency around the discussion so I'm optimistic, I think there's a lot of activity happening, and there's a critical mass of stakeholders talking about the critical issues and how we make it easier for students and parents, said McCarter.

Right now, only about 54 percent of Idaho high school students continue on to higher education.

For more information on the state's programs to increase that number, click HERE.

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