An Untapped Opportunity: Californians without a College Degree

As more Californians lose jobs to COVID-19 cutbacks, higher education has a unique opportunity to serve those sidelined workers who don’t have a degree. California Competes’ new research takes a closer look at the 6.8 million Californians aged 25-54 who graduated from high school and didn’t attend or finish college. More vulnerable to unemployment, this population would greatly benefit from streamlined pathways to degrees and certificates. Now more than ever, California’s colleges and universities must prioritize these adults. To do so, postsecondary institutions must better understand the hallmarks of this population.

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During and after the Great Recession, for-profit colleges targeted unemployed adults with no degree and ultimately left them with mountains of debt. History cannot repeat itself. Postsecondary institutions must make structural changes to serve today’s students who are often older with more family responsibilities and less help. California colleges and universities cannot continue to fuel the engine of social inequality by prioritizing students who are recent high school graduates from privileged communities.

This research explores where Californians without a college degree live, where they’ve been employed, whether they receive public assistance, and more important details that will be critical for our postsecondary institutions to consider.

Download An Untapped Opportunity: Californians without a College Degree.

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