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PATHWAYS to Postsecondary Success is a set of multi-method studies that provides a holistic portrait of the various supports and barriers low-income youth face during their efforts to access and earn postsecondary education credentials.


Literature Review:

A synthesis of existing research on the target populations will reveal what is already known and what additional research is needed on the opportunities and obstacles of low-income youth attaining a postsecondary credential.

National Analysis:

Analyses of national data sets that examine the lives and experiences of low-income youth with the goal of identifying the life circumstances and transition points that present postsecondary opportunities and obstacles for low-income youth.

California Young Adult Survey:

Will document patterns of participation in postsecondary education, employment and civic engagement of 18 to 26 year olds. It will also look into the influence of high school programs and the barriers experienced by different demographic groups, including income levels, race, immigrant status, gender, single-mother status and experience with the criminal justice system.

Case Studies:

Three sets of case studies examine the ways low-income youth make meaning of their educational experiences to and through postsecondary education. Individually, the case studies aim to provide rich details of low-income students at specific trajectories and sectors of postsecondary participation. Taken together, they provide a holistic portrait of how youth negotiate their daily lives with college participation.


A set of statistical indicators that can be used to monitor and report on the impact of postsecondary initiatives and policies. The indicator research builds upon UCLA IDEA’s and UC/ACCORD’s annual reports highlighting the educational resources and opportunities that affect high school success and the inequitable distribution among marginalized and privileged students. The indicator project expands this critical lens by focusing on the conditions that influence postsecondary success for various student populations.

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