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A long-running research study looking at ways to increase access to postsecondary education of underrepresented students found that enhanced career-education programs and promises of financial support made as early as high school boosted participation rates. And higher participation rates yielded substantial economic returns to the lives of young people.
The study, Education and Labour Market Impacts of the Future to Discover Project, was conducted by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) and published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. SRDC’s Future to Discover project began in 2003 to look at ways of reducing barriers that underrepresented students face, such as a lack of financial resources, poor academic preparation and a lack of information about postsecondary education. The study provides “a first, cautious answer to one of the most critical questions asked by decision makers concerned with PSE access programming: ‘How much of a difference will PSE make to the lives of youth who will not go if we do not intervene?’”