Evaluation summary: Pathways to Education

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About the program

Pathways to Education is a charitable organization working with at-risk youth in low-income communities to improve their educational outcomes.

Lessons learned

  1. Targeted early interventions can positively affect vulnerable populations
  2. A key component of the success of the Pathways model is the flexibility to adapt to local needs and conditions
  3. Early interventions with vulnerable populations can generate long-term net benefits with a high social rate of return, not just for individuals, but also for governments

Key findings
After 20.8 years

  • The discounted benefit to society is equal to the costs of the program

After 22.5 years

  • Pathways to Education breaks even from a government perspective, with the discounted benefits of the program equalling the costs

After 25 years

  • The discounted benefit of a student participating in Pathways is $7,490
  • The social rate of return for a student’s participation in Pathways is 50.1 percent

Note: Does not include other potential societal gains related to improved social outcomes, such as reduced health spending and intergenerational effects.

Figure 1: Improved graduation rates across observed Pathways to Education sites, 2015-2016
Figure of Improved graduation rates across observed Pathways to Education sites, 2015-2016: description follows
Text description of Figure 1

The graph depicts the on-time graduation rates, before and after the Pathways program, by site, over 2015 to 2016. These results compare the 2015 to 2016 results of a Pathway site to the results in the year prior to the introduction of Pathways.

Pre-Pathways Pathways
Halifax 54 89
Hamilton 59 72
Kingston 40 79
Kitchener 54 77
Ottawa 52 80
Toronto (Lawerence Heights) 54 73
Toronto (Regent Park) 44 83
Toronto (Rexdale) 46 72
Toronto (Scarborough Village) 57 79

Source: Pathways to Education 2017 Results Summary

Figure 2: Net social cost-benefit analysis 25 years after participation
Figure 2 of Net social cost-benefit analysis 25 years after participation: description follows
Text description of Figure 2

The graph shows how costs and benefits of Pathways accrue to both individual participants and to governments, over the short- and long-term. From individuals’ perspective, short-term benefits such as education subsidies and improved skills/employability can offset short-term costs incurred due to participation. Long-term benefits for individuals consist of greater lifetime earnings and improved social outcomes. From the government’s perspective, short-term costs consist of program costs and costs of supporting higher levels of education. Benefits to the government begin in the medium-term and extend into the long-term, and include the following: increased tax revenues from greater lifetime earnings of participants; decreased outlay on Employment Insurance, Social Assistance etc. and a potential decrease in spending on social programs, such as justice and health of individuals.

Governments Cumulative impact, net present value (discounted at 3% per year)
Program costs -$17,920
Post-secondary tax credit -$1,720
Social assistance and  Employment Insurance +$15,250
Increased government revenues +$6,400
Total governments net benefit +$2,010
Individual Cumulative impact, net present value (discounted at 3% per year)
Reduced wages during studies -$3,022
Post-secondary tuition -$2,370
Post-secondary tax credits +$1,430
Social assistance and  Employment Insurance -$12,710
Net post-studies earnings +$22,140
Total individual net benefit +$5,480
  • *Components may not add up to reported total due to rounding
  • Chart source: ESDC staff estimates based on results found in Lavecchia et al. (2018). “Long Term Impacts of the Pathways Education Program” for ESDC.
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