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Rural Youth Education Study

The purpose of the Rural Youth Education (RYE) Study is to increase understanding of the educational, career and residential plans of youth in rural Pennsylvania.

In order to do this study, we also need to find out about the factors that influence plans and student success in achieving their plans.  The study has a longitudinal design, which means the same students will be included in the study over time. This means that we can actually ask and report about how frequently students change their plans as they get older, and we can identify the factors that are associated with changes in plans.  This has important implications for understanding student success in achieving their goals, and factors that pose barriers to goal achievement or that correspond with changes in life goals. 

Why Rural Youth?

Some assume that rural youth are similar to youth in suburban and urban areas, and in many ways they are.  Modern communications technologies mean that youth across the country (for the most part) have access to the same news, music, reading materials and television. This doesn’t mean that all youth like the same types of music, for example, or have the same beliefs.  Youth also are influenced by their families, relatives, friends, teachers and the people and conditions where they live. Because the places in which youth live can differ on their values, culture, educational opportunities and job prospects, youth plans for the future are affected. More often in rural areas youth are encouraged to see leaving the community as the road to a successful future. This study was designed specifically to identify and understand the factors that influence the educational, occupational and residential plans of youth from rural Pennsylvania.

Project funding has been provided, in part, by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly; by a grant from the USDA National Research Initiative, Grant 2007-35401-17736, and by Hatch Grant 4001 to The Pennsylvania State University.