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Alaska Students’ Pathways From High School to Postsecondary Education and Employment


March 2016


Screen shot from the infographic
Download this infographic for a snapshot of the study's key findings.

After high school, students face a daunting array of pathways to postsecondary education or careers. Policymakers and other education stakeholders have had little information about the routes students travel in pursuing their career and life goals. Our new study fills that gap by examining the career and educational paths taken by 40,000 Alaska students after they left high school.

Alaska Students’ Pathways From High School to Postsecondary Education and Employmentfinds that Alaska students followed more than 3,000 unique postsecondary pathways. Two-thirds of the students graduated from high school and most either enrolled in college or entered the workforce in the state immediately after graduation. Female students, White students, and urban students were more likely to enroll in college, but their male, Alaska Native, and rural counterparts enrolled in college at similar rates when they had similar academic and personal background characteristics. Students who attained higher levels of education tended to have higher employment rates and earn higher wages, but wage gaps existed within and across education levels between male and female students and between Alaska Native and White students.

The study sheds light on the relationship between students’ high school experiences and educational achievements and their college and career paths immediately after high school. It also highlights how academic readiness, educational attainment, and work experience influence early career employment rates and wages. Policymakers and education stakeholders can use the findings to inform decisions about supporting college and career readiness and strategies to improve college enrollment rates, particularly among Alaska Native students.

This three-minute video shows how education and work experience impacted the wages and employment rates of all men and women, as well as Alaska Native men and women. Visit the Institute of Education Sciences' website to view, download, and print the report as a PDF file.