Do-Over? Half of Those Who Entered the Workforce After High School Say They’d Go to College Instead

National Journal
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April 10, 2014, 1:29 p.m.

Few de­cisions in Amer­ic­an life are as con­sequen­tial as what to do after high school, giv­en the ad­vant­ages in job and earn­ings pro­spects that come with a col­lege de­gree. In­deed, the latest Next Amer­ica sur­vey shows that the de­sire to land a well-pay­ing job is the No. 1 reas­on in­di­vidu­als pur­sue a col­lege edu­ca­tion or vo­ca­tion­al train­ing after high school. In con­trast, Amer­ic­ans who enter the work­force dir­ectly are mo­tiv­ated by con­cerns about col­lege af­ford­ab­il­ity, a re­luct­ance to take out stu­dent loans, and the need to help sup­port a fam­ily. Yet half of those people who do not pur­sue fur­ther edu­ca­tion find that the well-pay­ing jobs they want re­quire edu­ca­tion and train­ing they do not have. That helps to ex­plain why, giv­en the op­por­tun­ity to do it all over again, a ma­jor­ity of those who did not pur­sue a de­gree or vo­ca­tion­al tranin­ing after high school would do so.