The Postsecondary Education and Employment Pathways of Minnesota Public High School Graduates: Investigating Opportunity Gaps

Research Rundown Issue: October '19
Publisher: American Institutes for Research
Date Published: September '19


This report examines the postsecondary education and employment pathways of Minnesota public high school graduates one year after high school graduation, as well as their longer-term outcomes six years after graduation. The study found that outcomes diverge across demographic groups in the first year after graduation: students with disabilities, limited English proficiency, Latinx students, and Native American students were most likely not to be employed or enrolled in college. The study also found that six years after high school graduation, 37% had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, 11% had an associate’s degree, and 4% had a college certificate—leaving 48% with no college credential.

In response to their findings, the report provided several policy recommendations, including expanding access to rigorous high school coursework and more intensive career and college counseling for students of color.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

In 2015, the Minnesota legislature passed a law, which set a statewide target that 70% of Minnesota adults ages 25-44 will have attained a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025.  As of December 2018, we still had a long way to go, with only 61.4% of all Minnesotans holding a postsecondary credential–and significant disparities across lines of race and ethnicity. The new report demonstrates just how much work remains, not only among the adult workforce but also with newer high school graduates still falling far short of the 70% attainment goal. Preparing all students for postsecondary transitions must be a top priority for Minnesota’s E-12 system.

Read the full report