In a new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), the non-profit notes that while more minority young adults are going to college, one in ten of young adults in poverty have received a degree or postsecondary credential.
“Many young adults expect to reap the financial benefits associated with postsecondary education and those from low-income backgrounds believe that a college degree provides a critical step out of poverty,” states the June “Portrait of Low-Income Young Adults in Education” (pdf).
“Yet while a sizable proportion of low-income youth had enrolled in postsecondary education by 2008 [according to Census Bureau data], approximately one in 10 of young adults had completed a degree or credential but were still poor,” it continues. “In other words, the economic benefits were not immediately felt by these college completers.”
The snapshot data showed that in 2000 10% of low-income young adults had received a postsecondary credential but were still in poverty. This number rose to 11% in the 2008 Census data. In contrast, in 2000 42% of low-income youth were enrolled in college whereas in 2008 this rose to 47%.
The authors, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, argue that this “…finding also invites one to think about the value of a college degree and the extent to which postsecondary education can lift adults out of poverty.”
“For the purposes of the Portraits series, low-income young adults are defined as 18 to 26 year olds living in poverty,” states the report (formatting in original). In other words, some of these low-income graduates may have recently entered the workforce.
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.