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Post-secondary education refers to all types of formal and informal higher-level learning programs (e.g. college, technical/vocational training) that prepare students for secure livelihoods in today’s global economy.

Size/Magnitude of Problem

Over the last decade and more, the importance of post-secondary education has increased significantly. Higher education is now a critical mechanism for individual socioeconomic advancement and an important driver of a nation’s future economic growth. Compared to high-school graduates, college degree holders can expect greater economic stability and security, better access to health care, higher job satisfaction, and less dependency on government assistance.i ii

  • As of 2013, 33% of college-age youth around the world were enrolled in higher education, up from 19% in 2000.iii
  • While the enrollment rates of women have met and even surpassed male enrollment rates in most parts of the world, women continue to be disadvantaged in sub-Saharan Africa (62 female students for every 100 male students) and South and West Asia (74 female students for every 100 male students). iv
  • Income inequality between college graduates and less-educated workers continues to widen; Americans with four-year college degrees in 2015 commanded nearly twice the weekly income of those without a degree, with nearly half the rate of unemployment.v
Desired Equilibrium

Every youth has access to a quality post-secondary education providing valuable knowledge and 21st century skill sets, enabling success in the global economy and inspiring achievement of his or her full potential.

Ways Skoll social entrepreneurs are addressing the issue:
  • Building a comprehensive education experience to provide practical education and training (YouthBuild USA)
  • Utilizing technology platforms to deliver on-demand educational learning opportunities (Khan Academy, Benetech)
  • Delivering entrepreneurial skills content and training as preparation for the workforce (Camfed, Center for Digital Inclusion, YouthBuild USA, Khan Academy)
  • Providing older individuals with growth and learning content (Barefoot College,

i USA Today (link)
ii College Atlas (link)
iii World Bank (link)
iv UNESCO (link)
v U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (link)

Critical Geographies
Access to Advanced Education

As defined by SPI (< 10/100 score)
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Chad, Yemen, Mali, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Bhutan, Senegal, Benin, Djibouti, Niger, Ethiopia Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nepal