New insights from the Strada-Gallup Education Survey examine the main motivations driving students’ decisions to pursue postsecondary education. 86,000 U.S. adults with experiences at more than 3,000 institutions were asked to share in their own words the main reason they chose their postsecondary path and school.
Work outcomes are the main reason most people choose higher education, more than double the percentage representing the next most prevalent motivation.
Work outcomes are the primary motivation across all higher education pathways, not just four-year colleges and universities.
Work motivations are strikingly similar across demographic subgroups.
Those who start a higher education pathway and fail to complete it are more likely than those who complete theirs to report general aspirations for learning and knowledge as their top motivation.
While the choice to pursue higher education is largely driven by career aspirations, institution choice is primarily driven by constraints.
As we think about creating a more skilled, technical workforce and targeting those with some college and no degree to retool for the future of our information economy, it likely will not be enough to simply invite these learners back into an educational pathway. The pathway will need to be the right one–one with enough clarity, purpose and relevance to the prospective students’ working lives.
Results confirm that work outcomes are the main reason most people choose higher education, with 58% reporting job and career outcomes as their primary motivation. This is true across all higher education pathways and demographic subgroups. Work outcomes are also more than double the next most prevalent reason with 23% reporting a general motivation to learn more and gain knowledge without linking it to work or career aspirations.
Perhaps most significant, the survey revealed that those who start an educational path and fail to complete it are more likely than those who completed to report general aspirations for learning and knowledge as their top motivation. Read this report to learn how helping students clarify a work-related purpose for pursuing a postsecondary pathway may boost persistence and completion, and ensure they realize their main motivation for attending – to find a job and launch their career.
When it comes to education after high school, Americans know what they value and why. At Strada Education Network, we are listening to what they have to say and leveraging their insights about experiences and outcomes to forge more purposeful pathways between education and careers.
Gallup strategically partners with institutions to conduct custom research and implement best practices that create environments in which students and employees thrive.
Higher education’s measurement of student success is in the midst of an evolution. For nearly five decades, success efforts focused on access, then two decades with completion as the horizon for success, and now the focus is extending to student outcomes beyond completion.
Applied connections between education and work are increasingly a part of undergraduate education in the United States.
Two centuries after the first historically Black colleges and universities were founded, the 101 accredited HBCUs in operation today continue to deliver on their legacy of expanding educational opportunity for Black students that leads to successful and fulfilling lives.
As a field, higher education has experienced a continuing evolution in how to measure success. For nearly five decades success efforts were focused on access, followed by the past decade and a half pursuing completion, and the field now has a growing focus on the value of a degree and student outcomes beyond completion.
Strada’s prior research on undergraduate perceptions of the value of their education demonstrates that students value their education most when they receive support to connect their education and career interests.
In the wake of historic pandemic-related enrollment declines, postsecondary institutions have responded by developing and expanding innovative approaches to engaging learners.
The baccalaureate degree remains the surest path to economic mobility, employment stability, and a host of associated social benefits.
Steep declines in undergraduate enrollment during 2020 and 2021 threaten to widen existing equity gaps in college completion and career opportunities.
Nondegree credentials have been growing rapidly for decades. During the COVID-19 economic crisis, interest in nondegree credentials and skills training options was especially high. Questions about their quality and value, however, remain.
The high school classes of 2020 and 2021 have endured massive disruption to their education.
The pandemic has led to a national crisis of widespread disruption to both work and education for millions of adults in the U.S., especially those from historically marginalized groups.
From its onset in early 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended life across the world, leading to uncertainty around health, work, finances, education, and a host of other issues.
Over the past 15 years, the number of student loan recipients has increased by 51 percent and the debt associated with those loans has more than doubled.
We asked alumni nationwide who had borrowed money to go to school if their loans were worth it. Strada Education Network and Gallup surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 student loan holders.
Our mission is to improve lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment.
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