Brief Effects of the Back on Track Model on College Persistence and Completion
An Opportunity Works Brief
Breno Braga, Theresa Anderson, H. Elizabeth Peters
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This brief finds that participation in the Opportunity Works initiative increased the likelihood of opportunity youth enrolling in postsecondary programs and earning a postsecondary credential in South King County. Opportunity Works was a three-year effort led by JFF with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions to help opportunity youth—young people ages 16 to 24 not in school or meaningfully employed—access postsecondary and career pathways. Based on the Back on Track framework, seven cities across the country undertook collective impact approaches with diverse partners to provide supportive, enhanced preparation and postsecondary or career bridging for eligible young people, with a particular focus on young men of color. In this study, we follow participants up to five years after program entry to estimate effects of program participation on college persistence and completion in the South King County program site. About 17 percent of program participants earned a postsecondary credential, such as a college degree or a nondegree college credential, compared with 2 percent in the comparison group. Most completion effects were a result of increases in nondegree credentials awarded to participants. We also find suggestive evidence that Opportunity Works increased participants’ likelihood of graduating with a two-year college degree.

Research Areas Education Children and youth
Tags Beyond high school: education and training
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population Income and Benefits Policy Center