To create this series, reporters interviewed more than 280 people, including young people and their parents, and analyzed government data.
Among those interviewed were economists, demographers, historians, and academic experts in a wide range of disciplines, as well as experts in public policy, education, labor and labor law, career counseling, sociology, and psychology.
Officials at numerous colleges and community colleges were also interviewed, as were dozens of college students, dropouts, graduates, and their parents.
Reporters used data or interviewed representatives from various federal agencies, including: the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, the Census Bureau, and the Government Accounting Office.
Groups that specialize in work issues were consulted, including: the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, the MacArthur Foundation’s Network on Transition to Adulthood, the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, and the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University.
Also consulted were employment professionals, members of industry and trade groups, and members of education associations. Some of these include: the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, Select Greater Philadelphia, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.
Reporters also analyzed data from and spoke with experts at: the Institute for College Access and Success (The Project on Student Debt), the Pew Research Center, the College Board, the National Consumer Law Center, and the Education Trust.
Various think tanks connected to education issues were also consulted.