Education Issues

Socioeconomic Status

While the US is still rebounding from an economic collapse, the need for adult learners to obtain careers that will support themselves and their families is vital to the recovering economy. In order for adults who lack a high school diploma to reach a certain economic status, there will be a need to further their education not only through adult schools but also beyond. Recent economic changes have left adults who lack a high school diploma in an unfavorable social and economic position. At the same time, research shows that completing a high school education and pursuing a postsecondary degree is key to economic prosperity and expanded social opportunities. Socioeconomic status is the biggest factor influencing dropouts’ decisions to enroll in postsecondary education. Dropouts from the top two-fifths of the socioeconomic ladder are more than twice as likely to enroll in college as those from the bottom one-fifth.

Foreign School Dropouts

Foreign school dropouts, obtaining a GED credential is the bridge to postsecondary education, but little is known about how successfully these students could make that transition. The US has a large number of high school dropouts who are underserved, and postsecondary institutions across the US have started new programs like the GED transitioning program to assist high school dropouts to pursue postsecondary education. These programs usually begin with the students having to go through an intake and orientation process prior to entering college. The intake process includes an interview with graduates that allows staff to assess students’ academic skills and other factors that could affect a student’s ability to succeed in postsecondary education, such as employment status, child care needs, motivation, goals, career interests, academic experiences, learning styles, and previous academic assessments  This helps program staff determine whether students are ready for the transition course or they need more remediation than the program can provide.

GED study

For various reasons, enrolling in college classes can be difficult. Many adults who did not complete high school are reluctant to go to college because the experience they encountered in education as a youth had been negative. Once an adult enrolls, main­taining attendance and progress can be difficult. The demands of work and family obligations can limit the amount of time available to focus on GED study. According to the GED Testing Services (2012), there are 39 million adults who do not have a high school diploma. High school dropouts cost the United States $1.8 billion annually.  In 2012 adults with an associate’s degree had a median in­come of $36,000 compared to adults with a bachelor’s degree who had an annual income of $46,900. Adults with a high school diploma or its equivalency earned $30,000 compared to high school dropouts who earned $23,500 as their annual income. Adults who have obtained a GED credential will likely earn the same amount as their high school graduate counterparts; this will increase their potential earnings by $115 per week. If the number of high school dropouts in the United States was cut in half, the economy would gain additional $45 billion in taxes.  This would lead to lower healthcare cost, incarceration, and welfare.

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