Postsecondary & Transitions to Work

The Postsecondary and Transitions to Work Program Area seeks to make higher education and the opportunities it affords more equitable. College degree attainment is a key lever for reducing our nation’s rising income inequality. Data show that adults with a bachelor’s degree earn a wage premium of $27,000 compared to those with only a high school diploma. These figures are even more dramatic for traditionally underrepresented groups.  In concert with a host of other social policies, improving our ability to move students into and through college is a big part of solving our income inequality crisis. 

Colleges and universities need to do a better job at shoring up the multiple pathways that lead to a degree.  This includes strengthening the mechanism that gets students to the college’s doors – either for the first time or for returning students – and ensuring that those who start a course of study successfully complete.

Public policy also plays an essential role in establishing smoother transitions from K-12 to college and the workforce, closing achievement gaps, improving college affordability, reducing the overall time to degree, and ensuring that full-time employment allows for career flexibility and upward mobility.  These are the types of issues our program area will tackle through research and policy development.