Many communities across the country are setting goals around degree attainment, relying on youth going from high school to college, or on importing college grads to meet these goals. Graduate!’s Comebacker model is a third, and “now” strategy that is gaining traction and showing good results.
There are 36 million individuals in the United States with some college credit but no degree. We call them the Comebackers. Many stopped out because of a mismatch with the college or university they started attending, difficulties balancing family and life issues with school, finances or debt. Now, they are barred from many jobs with good pay that require a college credential, their children have no role models for college completion at home, and they may still carry the stigma of failure.
Increasing the number of adults with degrees has a generational multiplier effect: When an adult earns a degree the youth in their household are three times more likely to finish high school, go to college and earn a degree themselves.
By 2020 65% of all jobs will require college education. Time is running out for regions relying solely on a K-12 pipeline, and not all cities are magnets for recent college grads. Comebackers immediately infuse the regional talent shed with their new skills and expertise.