Tulane University's Cowen Institute will launch a new research initiative aimed at helping more New Orleans public school graduates — especially those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged — enter and complete college, officials said.

Funding comes from a $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York.

During the next 15 months, the Cowen Institute will conduct research, draft policy recommendations and engage national experts in creating a unified plan for post-secondary success in New Orleans.

Amanda Kruger Hill, Cowen's executive director, said the goal of the program is to create a model that could be used nationwide.

Only 9 percent of young people in New Orleans’ bottom income quartile earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of high school graduation. That's compared to 80 percent in the top quartile, officials said.

Previous Cowen Institute research found that more than 14 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds in New Orleans are disconnected from both employment and education.

The institute will create a detailed report on the current state of youth in New Orleans and how disadvantaged youth fare in the city after high school. The report will include data for specific age groups to determine who is employed, who is enrolled in degree programs and who is neither in school nor employed.