Research summary - Effects of the Pathways program on post-secondary education

Official title: The Persistent Effects of the Pathways to Education Program through Post-Secondary Education

Authors of report: Dr. Adam Lavecchia and Dr. Philip Oreopoulos

Alternate formats

Effects of the Pathways program on post-secondary education: Alternate Formats [PDF - 220 KB]

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Why this study

This research looks at the Pathways to Education Canada (Pathways) program. It examines its impacts on post-secondary education (PSE) outcomes in the communities it serves.

Pathways is a not-for-profit organization. It supports youth in low-income communities to help them finish high school and transition to PSE. Since 2010, the federal government has invested $97.5M in Pathways programming.

What we did

The study examined the PSE outcomes of youth in communities served by Pathways. The study focused on youth living in the following Toronto neighbourhoods:

  • Regent Park
  • Rexdale, and
  • Lawrence Heights

To measure Pathways’ impacts, the research:

  • compared the PSE outcomes of youth in these communities to those before the introduction of Pathways, and
  • compared these results to youth who have no Pathways programming. These youth live in other similar low-income communities in Toronto

What we found

Availability of Pathways programming had positive impacts on youth and their PSE outcomes. In Pathways communities, the research found that:

  • PSE enrolment increased. The gains were bigger for those going to university than college
  • PSE graduation rates also increased. The increase was similar for both university and college
  • Youth from Pathways communities spent more time in PSE studies. This was because youth from Pathways communities tended to go to university. University programs are longer than college programs. This indicates that the youth stayed in their PSE studies and were less likely to drop out

What it means

The findings of this research will help the Government of Canada to:

  • understand how much Pathways improves outcomes in PSE, and
  • determine if the federal government’s investments into Pathways are beneficial

Contact us

Learning Branch, Learning Policy and Services Directorate, Policy, Planning and Partnerships Division


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