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They Are Not Alone

They Are Not Alone

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They Are Not Alone

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  1. They Are Not Alone Recommendations to help young people address their concerns in attaining a college degree

  2. Public Agenda • A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to public opinion and engagement • Large body of work on higher education • Founded in 1975 by social scientist Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance

  3. Research Strategy NOCHE and Public Agenda designed a qualitative research plan that would capture the voices of young adults throughout Northeast Ohio. • Focus groups were conducted in Akron, Cleveland and Youngstown, with participants drawn from those cities as well as surrounding areas. • All participants were young adults, 18-24 years old, who didn’t have college degrees and weren’t currently in a PSE program • Two hour focus group sessions. We tested specific proposals and programs being used on a small scale to see what would resonate with adults who are no longer on the “college track”

  4. Among these NE Ohio young adults we found three underlying concerns: • Not having the time or the money to get a higher education credential • Needing outside support to help hold them accountable for their education • Lack of information and communication about what to expect in a college environment

  5. Concern #1: Not having the time or money to get a higher education credential • Many (but not all) young adults said college is important and that they plan on going back. • When pushed about why they are not in school now, concerns about money (debt in particular) and about time to balance work and school were cited most often.

  6. “When you’re in school, you’re paying money. When you’re not in school you’re making money….It’s like a catch 22.” - Man from Akron with some PSE experience “You graduate college, and you’re already in debt… You’re trying to start a family, and you’re already in debt… We’re burying ourselves before we ever even get started.” - Another Akron Man with some PSE experience

  7. Interventions that Resonated • Flexible enrollment programs, flexible work schedules and child care “I work eight or nine hours a day and then go and sit [in class]…and then not get home [until] 9 or 10 at night. Then I wake up, and do it all over again.” -Cleveland woman who left a PSE program • Early college savings plans, debt counseling “A counselor [could have helped] with… ways of getting school paid for you don’t know about until you’re there.” - Akron man with no PSE experience

  8. Concern #2: Wanting outside support to help hold them accountable for their education • Many young adults talked about not being motivated in high school and wanted to see more stakeholders hold them accountable • Many expressed concern that there are not people in PSE institutions that would help them be accountable

  9. “I didn’t like school as it is, and [a good advisor] … would have motivated me more to get through it.” - Man from Cleveland with no college experience “There are some things that I just don’t get very easily and if there are people who understand so I can ask questions… that would help.” - Man from Youngstown with no college experience

  10. Interventions that Resonated • High school: More counseling, Online grade monitoring • PSE level: More support services, peer study groups and participating in learning communities

  11. “I was always bright, one of the smartest, [in high school] but I was never motivated. If I had [online grade monitoring] back then—I would have all these people always checking up on me.” - Man from Cleveland who left college “Some days I just needed that extra little push, somebody [saying] ‘Come on, you know we’ve got to go do our work.” - Akron woman who left college (talking about her college experiences)

  12. Concern #3: Lack of information and communication about what is needed and what to expect in a college environment • Many young adults regretted not knowing – while in high school – what they needed to know to succeed in college • Many today, seemed unsure, and perhaps worried, about what college is like • And many did not know what institutions are doing to address their concerns

  13. “I didn’t feel prepared with the culture shock [at college]. When I got on campus…[I] didn’t know how to fit in.” - Woman from Akron who left college “…They give you so many breaks [in high school]. They’re not going to give you a break while you’re on campus.” - Youngstown man with no college experience

  14. Interventions that Resonated • Dual enrollment/early college programs • Summer bridge programs/first-year experience programs

  15. “I think [dual enrollment] would have made you be more prepared for college than anything else, actually going to a college class and sitting with older people and stuff like that.” - Man from Youngstown who left PSE “The summer bridge [would have helped]…just to know a little bit more what I was getting myself into when going to college.” - Woman from Akron who left PSE

  16. Three underlying concerns: • Not having the time or the money to get a higher education credential • Needing outside support to help hold them accountable for their education • Lack of information and communication about what to expect in a college environment

  17. What can be done to address these underlying concerns? Who can help?

  18. Come to Public Agenda www.publicagenda.org for more research on higher education and other issues • Contact Jon Rochkind at jrochkind@publicagenda.org for further information