Uncovering the Tripwires to Postsecondary Success

KSVT's first policy report focused on three main barriers to college transitions: the birthright lottery, veiled college costs, and college and career unreadiness.

As students in the midst of postsecondary transitions ourselves, we felt an especially acute sense of urgency to understand why too many of our peers were faltering on the way to, or so soon after, high school graduation. We were concerned about the dire but poorly-discussed data about how many young people start but do not finish a college or associate’s degree program. In this report, we attempt to uncover what we call “tripwires” or unacknowledged barriers behind these troubling postsecondary graduation rates. Our strategy is simple: marry facts with the voices and stories of the real students to whom they refer.

By infusing the data about college transition challenges with voices from Kentucky youth, we can better illuminate the research and make it more accessible.The ambitious hope is that by reaching out to our peers and elevating and amplifying student insight, we can use our expertise as observers on the front lines of the Commonwealth’s class-rooms to help bridge the gap between education policy and practice. And at the very least, we hope we can stimulate a more honest conversation among students, policymakers and the public about what it takes to ensure a smooth journey for all of our peers after high school.

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