Social Research and Demonstration Corporation

Social Research and Demonstration Corporation

November 30, 2009 01:00 ET

Students From Lower-Income Families More Likely to Seek Post-Secondary Education as a Result of New Innovative Programming

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2009) - Today, the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) released a report showing that offering career education and an early guarantee of financial aid to high school students had significant impacts on their interest in post-secondary studies.

Offering enhanced workshops on career education in the last three years of high school to Grade 10 students from lower-income, lower-education families

- increased from 32 to 47 per cent the proportion planning to apply to university, as seen in Francophone schools in New Brunswick;

- increased from 45 to 55 per cent the proportion strongly recognizing that they needed to keep studying after high school to achieve what they want in life, in both Manitoba and Francophone schools in New Brunswick;

- increased from 36 to 54 per cent the proportion reporting familiarity with student financial aid, as seen in Anglophone schools in New Brunswick; and

- reduced from 22 to 10 per cent the proportion foreseeing a financial barrier standing in the way of their post-secondary aspirations, as seen in Manitoba.

The early promise of a $8,000 bursary for post-secondary education when made to New Brunswick students whose parents had no education beyond high school

- increased from 40 to 52 per cent the proportion strongly recognizing that they needed to keep studying after high school to achieve what they want in life, in Francophone schools; and

- increased from 87 to 96 per cent the proportion with aspirations to achieve a post-secondary credential, in Anglophone schools.

The interventions are being tested as part of the Future to Discover project, which aims to see whether such approaches incite more students to participate in post-secondary education – especially those from lower-income groups 50 per cent of whom typically do not pursue their studies beyond high school. Future to Discover is being rigorously evaluated with some 5,400 students in 51 high schools in Manitoba and New Brunswick.

"With the expected skills shortages that Canada will be facing in coming years, more must be done to get all students to see themselves as potential post-secondary students" noted Jean-Pierre Voyer, SRDC president. "Future to Discover holds out the prospect of levelling the playing field for students who traditionally don't get to access post-secondary education."

"There are promising signs that Future to Discover will increase participation in post-secondary education, especially among lower-income students. Our final report in 2011 will allow SRDC to confirm that intentions translated into actual participation in post-secondary education" said Reuben Ford, SRDC's director of research.

Future to Discover was launched in 2003 with the funding of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a private, independent organization that encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their post-secondary studies. Future to Discover is being evaluated using a rigorous experimental design, where students were assigned randomly to a program group trying out one or more of the new interventions, or to a comparison group. The benefit-cost analysis of the project will appear in the final report. A briefing note on the project is available on SRDC's Web site (www.srdc.org).

The report and executive summary on the interim impacts of the Future to Discover project is available on the Web sites of SRDC (www.srdc.org) and the Foundation (www.millenniumscholarships.ca).

SRDC is a non-profit research organization, created specifically to develop, field test, and rigorously evaluate new programs.

Contact Information

  • SRDC
    Reuben Ford (English inquiries)
    Director of Research
    604-601-4082
    rford@srdc.org
    or
    SRDC
    Heather Smith Fowler (French inquiries)
    Senior Research Associate
    613-237-7444
    hsmithfowler@srdc.org
    or
    SRDC
    Christopher Mallory
    Publication Production Manager
    613-789-9695
    cmallory@srdc.org