College & Workforce Readiness

Tracing the Paths to Social Mobility

By Dakarai I. Aarons — January 23, 2009 1 min read

A new report by the Washington-based Hudson Institute looks for educational pathways that could produce the high-paying careers needed for social mobility among low-income families.

Called “Pathways to Boosting the Earnings of Low-Income Students by Increasing Their Educational Attainment,” it was prepared for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by Hudson and CNA, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit research group.

The study was based on data on the high school, postsecondary, and workforce experience of all Florida students who were in the 9th grade in 1996. After examining the cohort of more than 144,000 students, the researchers found that while academic degrees increased the amount that recipients earned, certificates from community colleges and technical schools also led to well-paid careers.

Concentrations in science, technology, and mathematics tended to be among the most lucrative fields for students.

The study also found implications for future earnings in the way students were prepared during their high school careers. High-performing, well-prepared high school students tended to select college concentrations that would lead to higher earnings.

Other barriers affected the performance of low-income students. They were unlikely to remain in college for more than a year or to receive a credential. Many of them also spent most of their time working on remedial classes. Those barriers often reflected a lack of money or information about how to access postsecondary options.

“Certainly, it is possible that many more low-income students would attend college if they had better information about the expected gains from obtaining certificates and degrees in different fields and the availability of financial-aid programs,” the report says.

“But it also is possible,” it says, “that many low-income students who did not attend college faced larger financial impediments than those who did, and more generous aid programs and/or better supportive programs (such as child care) would be needed to substantially increase attainment of credentials for this group.”

A version of this article appeared in the January 28, 2009 edition of Education Week

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
The Social-Emotional Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on American Schoolchildren
Hear new findings from an analysis of our 300 million student survey responses along with district leaders on new trends in student SEL.
Content provided by Panorama

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Whitepaper
Prepare Students with Work-Based Learning
Download this toolkit to learn how your school or district can build community partnerships to provide students with access to real-world...
Content provided by Naviance
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion An Economist Explains How to Make College Pay
Rick Hess speaks with Beth Akers about practical advice regarding how to choose a college, what to study, and how to pay for it.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
Marchmeena29/iStock/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor How We Can Improve College-Completion Rates
Early- and middle-college high schools have the potential to improve college completion rates, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read