Pathways to College Online Library

The new forgotten half and research directions to support them

Author(s):Rosembaum, J., Ahearn, C., Becker, K., & Rosenbaum, J.
Organization(s): William T. Grant Foundation
Description:In 1988, the William T. Grant Foundation published “The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America’s Youth and Young Families” describing the lack of support for non-college bound youth, calling them “the forgotten half.” This January 2015 report from the William T. Grant Foundation analyzes data from the nationally representative Educational Longitudinal Survey (ELS), which followed the graduating class of 2004 from their sophomore year in 2002 until the year 2012. It describes the circumstances, opportunities, and challenges of “the new forgotten half,” those who attend college without ever attaining a degree. Findings include that while 86% of on-time high school graduates enroll into a postsecondary institution within eight years, many college enrollees never complete a degree, and those with “some college” without a postsecondary credential fare no better than those with a high school diploma in the labor market. This issue is concentrated in community colleges, because about 37% of high school graduates enroll in a community college and intend to continue on to a BA, but 46% of those students drop out out within eight years without a degree. Further research and policy reforms are needed in three major areas: describing the new college reality, utilizing counseling and guidance, and establishing alignment between school and work.
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