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ECMC Group

A new survey of low-income and first-generation high school students and those who are people of color reveals that concerns about preparedness, the ability to meet their basic needs and academic costs are impacting their future education and career plans, making them less likely to believe more education is necessary. The new survey from ECMC Group collected responses from more than 1,000 students from underserved student populations in October 2022 and revealed that they do not feel prepared for life after high school.

Findings include:

  • Only 45 percent of students from low-income, first-generation and BIPOC backgrounds believe education after high school is necessary (compared to 52 percent of all high schoolers).
  • Fewer than half (47 percent) of students from low-income, first-generation and BIPOC backgrounds are considering attending a four-year college.
  • Eighty-three percent feel pressure to pursue a four-year degree, despite 60 percent believing they can be successful without one.
  • Most would like their high school to provide more guidance on questions about finances (62 percent), support for their mental and physical health (48 percent), and identifying postsecondary education options (46 percent).
  • Eighty-six percent think about their education and career path after high school at least weekly, and more than half (52 percent) think about it every day.
  • Despite strong interest in identifying their career path, only about one-third have been offered a program that helps them explore careers; 38 percent have taken a class on career exploration, and only 41 percent of students attend high schools that provide college fairs.
  • Forty-three percent listed “I need to be able to feed myself” in their top criteria in making a decision about their post–high school education; 34 percent listed “I need to have safe housing” in their top criteria.

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