Philadelphians Speak Up About Barriers to College Completion: A #RealCollegePHL Report

Philadelphians Speak Up About Barriers to College Completion: A #RealCollegePHL Report

In 2020, Philadelphians without a high school diploma were twice as likely as those with college degrees to have problems paying rent, buying food, covering medical costs, or meeting other financial necessities. Without higher education, large portions of our city’s population remain exceptionally vulnerable. The barriers in their way must be addressed if our city is to have an equitable recovery from the pandemic-induced recession and reduce structural poverty.

This report summarizes results from a fall 2020 survey of nearly 900 Philadelphia residents, focusing on the experiences and opinions of individuals who had not started or completed a college degree but desired to do so. Together with a recently released Hope Center report that documents the challenges of students currently enrolled in Philadelphia-area colleges, it provides evidence of barriers to college attainment.

Topics covered include:

  • Barriers faced by Philadelphians who are enrolling in college for the first time or trying to return after stopping out
  • Philadelphians’ support for policy changes that could support college completion, particularly those that would improve students’ basic needs security
  • Existing local efforts to support students
  • Recommendations for local and state policy makers, higher education institutions, and community-based organizations

This report is part of our #RealCollegePHL project.