How does limited education limit young people?

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC– A recent nationally-representative U.S. Department of Education study found that 28 percent of fall 2009 ninth-graders had not yet enrolled in a trade school or college by February 2016– roughly six-and-a-half years later.

Sixty percent of these high school graduates worried about having enough money for regular expenses according to the report written by RTI International. More than 25 percent also reported receiving regular help from their parents to cover rent and other housing expenses.

"We found that six-and-a-half years later, ninth-graders who had not entered any type of postsecondary education were finding life difficult in today's economy," said Alexandria Walton Radford, Ph.D., the report's co-author and director of RTI's Center for Postsecondary Education. "This study sheds light on a range of challenges these young adults experience, including unemployment and financial stress."

Researchers conducted the longitudinal study by following a nationally representative sample of students who were ninth-graders in fall 2009 through high school and into higher education and/or the workforce. The data provide insight on outcomes experienced by these young adults, including their high school completion, postsecondary enrollment and early attainment, workforce experiences, family financial support and more.

Among ninth-graders who chose not to enroll in further education, 42 percent indicated financial reasons as among their reasons and 43 percent indicated personal or family reasons. Only nine percent reported that academic reasons were a factor.

"These data will help policymakers, researchers, and practitioners gain clarity on high school students' diverse trajectories, paving the way to making more informed decisions on how to serve young people better," said Dan Pratt, the project director for the study.

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Learn more about how RTI researchers are helping expand opportunities and drive better outcomes for children, youth and adults through education and workforce development research.

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Lindsey Luxon
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