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"The Path Least Taken: A Quest to Learn More About High School Graduates Who Don't Go on to College"

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A new study finds that 79 percent of high school graduates go to a two- or four-year college by age 20, and that 88 percent enroll by age 26—a much higher proportion than researchers previously thought.

Some graduates are realizing they need more education once they enter the workforce and then find their way back into education, said Patte Barth, the director of the Center for Public Education at the National School Boards Association, which released the report last week.

Researchers analyzing federal longitudinal data found that the 12 percent of noncollege-goers were more likely to be male, low-income, and have parents whose schooling ended with a high school diploma or less. Students' racial or ethnic backgrounds and home language were not factors in their college-going, according to the authors.

Two-thirds of noncollege-goers began high school believing they would attend college, the researchers found. Finances were cited most often as the reason students didn't go, but some said they were undecided, wanted to go right into the workforce, or needed to support their families.

Vol. 34, Issue 07, Page 4

Published in Print: October 8, 2014, as College-Going
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