A federal study tracking a cohort of high school sophomores over 10 years shows that about half had a postsecondary credential, that those who went straight to college after high school were far likelier to earn a degree, and that the bachelor's degree holders among them were less likely to be unemployed or to have lost a job since 2006.
The report, published by the National Center for Education Statistics and drawn from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, examines a range of employment and other outcomes a decade later for students who were high school sophomores that year. Among the findings:
- A third (33 percent) of the 2002 high school sophomores had earned a bachelor's degree or higher, another 9 percent had associate degrees, 10 percent had undergraduate-level certificates, and 32 percent had attended college but lacked a credential. Forty-two percent of fhose who went to college within three months of completing high school had earned a bachelor's degree, and 11 percent had earned a master's.
- Of those who went to college, 40 percent had no student loan debt, 36 percent had borrowed less than $25,000, and 11 percent had more than $50,000 in student loans.
- Those with some kind of postsecondary credential were less likely to be unemployed (11.8 percent, vs. 25.9 percent of those who did not complete high school and 15 percent who had only a high school diploma), and to have received public assistance (26.2 percent, vs. 47.2 and 32.4 percent, respectively).