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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

High School Grads Continue, If They Can

A sizable majority of high school students are going on to obtain additional education shortly after 12th grade, but the usual culprit—cost—is preventing some students from enrolling in postsecondary classes.

A new study by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics followed 20,000 ninth-graders from 2009 to 2016, according to a report in Inside Higher Ed. Nearly all (92%) graduated from high school and 72% of them had entered some type of certificate or degree program or other vocational classes by February 2016, when the study concluded.

Not surprisingly, 80% of the students who attended private high schools continued their education, while fewer than 49% of those from public high schools did so. Students who didn’t pursue postsecondary courses often cited insufficient finances as the reason. For 40% of students who started college after high school and then dropped out, lack of money was also the cause.

Personal situations and “work” (presumably schedules) also kept many students from seeking additional training or education. Employment and studies seemed to be a tough combination: Just 7% of the students who went on to postsecondary coursework also held full-time jobs, and only about 25% had a part-time gig while taking classes.

Given the number of nontraditional-aged adults currently attending colleges and universities, no doubt some of the study’s students who haven’t continued on will eventually enroll somewhere. However, some are in a Catch-22 of sorts; even if grants or other aid cover all their educational expenses, 60% of them are still struggling to pay for daily living expenses.

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