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Equity

Closing the College Participation Gap


Closing the College Participation Gap: A National Summary PDF - As state economies decline and enrollment demand grows, people’s opportunity to obtain a postsecondary education – and states’ ability to provide access to one – is likely to be challenged in the coming years. This ECS report examines the potential threats to college participation, and offers assistance for policymakers interested in increasing access, particularly for disadvantaged populations. Major findings include: the United States is falling behind other industrialized nations in college participation; demographic and economic forces are converging to limit states’ ability to protect, much less expand, college access; and growing gaps in participation rates based on age, race and income level suggest large numbers of people are at risk of losing access to a college education. The major theme of the report is that closing the postsecondary participation gap is key to improving both economic and social well-being in states. Also available are profiles for all 50 states. (Sandra Ruppert, Education Commission of the States, 2003)...

Narrowing the Gaps in Educational Attainment Within States: A Policymaker’s Guide for Assessing and Responding to Needs for Community College Services PDF - Community colleges are typically viewed as institutions capable of providing a low-cost, open-access education and narrowing disparities that exist from region to region in a state. This paper from Aims McGuinness Jr. and Dennis Jones urges policymakers to rethink the crucial role community colleges play in a state’s social and economic climate. The report includes comparative state data and a descriptive summary of community college services, including remedial and adult education, transfer and career preparation, and general education. (Aims McGuinness Jr. and Dennis Jones, Education Commission of the States, 2003) ...

The Adult Learning Gap: Why States Need to Change Their Policies Toward Adult Learners PDF - In a knowledge-based economy, a postsecondary education is a prerequisite for success. College graduates earn almost double the amount of those with no postsecondary education. But it is not just the individual who benefits – the states do, as well. In this paper, the authors examine the needs of adult learners and the ways in which states can encourage and shape the future of adult education. Changing economics and demographics demand a rethinking of adult learning and its impact on the quality of life for everyone in states. Recommendations include increasing and diversifying the amount of financial aid available to adult learners and placing a new emphasis on adult literacy and ESL programs. (Alice Ann Bailey and James R. Mingle, Education Commission of the States, 2003)...

Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2011-12; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2010-11; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2010-11 - This First Look presents preliminary data findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2011 collection, which included three survey components: Institutional Characteristics for the 2011-12 academic year, Completions covering the period July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, and data on 12-Month Enrollment for the 2010-11 academic year. (NCES, July 2012)...

Opportunity Adrift: Our Flagship Universities Are Straying From Their Public Mission - The report examines how well the nation’s most prestigious, or flagship, public universities are serving the student populations of their respective states. Its findings suggest that many of the nation's top public universities are giving millions of dollars in financial aid to students from relatively wealthy families, rather than to those who urgently need it. (Kati Haycock, Mary Lynch and Jennifer Engle, The Education Trust, January 2010)...

The Challenge to States: Preserving College Access and Affordability in a Time of Crisis - This report presents a list of recommendations for policy-makers, governing boards and campus and system leaders to preserve college access and affordability. The authors suggest that stakeholders who determine the use of federal stimulus funds use the resources to protect access and affordability and to leverage improvements in productivity, efficiency and quality. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, March 2009)...

Promise Lost: College-Qualified Students Who Don’t Enroll in College - The importance of promoting college access for all college-qualified students will continue to grow as the United States grapples with the challenges and opportunities of a global economy. This report provides an overview of the key factors in college access. The report presents the results of the national survey of non-college-goers. College-qualified students who enrolled in college are compared with those who did not enroll. There is discussion of differences among groups of non-college-goers. A secondary survey of counselors discusses counselors’ perceptions of the barriers to college enrollment. Finally, there is discussion of the results of the surveys, the policy implications and suggestions for further research. (Institute for Higher Education Policy, Ryan Hahn and Derek Price, November 2008)...

College Access for the Working Poor: Overcoming Burdens to Succeed in Higher Education - Expanding access to higher education is critical to improving the lives of the working poor, as jobs in today’s economy increasingly require some higher education. This report takes one of the most comprehensive looks to date at the higher education experiences, financial challenges, and attendance and completion rates of the working poor. (Courtney McSwain and Ryan Davis, Institute for Higher Education Policy, July 2007)...

Opening the Door to the American Dream: Increasing Higher Education Access and Success for Immigrants - In this report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the issue of immigrants and higher education is analyzed. The authors argue that increasing access into higher education for immigrants would have significant implications for the immigrant population and the country as a whole. (Wendy Erisman and Shannon Looney, Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2007)...

Minorities in Higher Education Twenty-Second Annual Status Report: 2007 Supplement - This special supplement to 2006’s 22nd edition presents the latest data on high school completion and college participation rates, educational attainment rates, and degrees conferred. In each case, information is included for the racial and ethnic groups for whom data is available for the years reported. (Bryan Cook and Diana Cordova, American Council on Education, 2007)...

Recession, Retrenchment and Recovery: State Higher Education Funding & Student Financial Aid Volume II - This report examines 25 years of data regarding financial access to higher education. In a state-by-state comparison, the report details higher education financial access during recessions and policy strategies for the states that maintained access. Also included are suggestions for improvement and success extrapolated from the data and policymaker interviews. (Allison S. Ambrose, Edward R. Hines, Ross A. Hodel, Kathleen F. Kelly, Christopher E. Mushrush, Sheila J. Pruden, W. Paul Vogt, Center for the Study of Education Policy, Illinois State University National Association of State Student Grant Aid Programs, State Higher Education Executive Officers, October 2006)...

State of Decline? Gaps in College Access and Achievement Call for Renewed Commitment to Educating Californians - This report is the second in a series of reports analyzing the performance of California higher education in the areas of preparation, participation, completion, affordability and benefits. It presents data related to these categories of performance by region and by race/ethnicity. (Colleen Moore and Nancy Shulock, Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy, October 2006) ...

College Rankings Reformed: The Case for a New Order in Higher Education - U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of colleges and universities has become the de facto higher education accountability system in the United States, despite its deeply flawed ranking system. Instead of ranking institutions on how well they educate their students and how well they prepare them to be successful after college education their students, it ranks them based on three factors: fame, wealth and exclusivity. The author argues that new data and technology offer an opportunity to really measure how well colleges and universities are preparing their undergraduate students. (Kevin Carey, Education Sector, September 2006) ...

The College Ladder: Linking Secondary and Postsecondary Education for Success for All Students - This report reviews 22 programs that provide opportunities for high school students to earn college-level credit or take college-level courses to determine their impact on a range of student outcomes, including credits earned during high school, performance on high school tests, high school graduation rates, college-going rates, college remediation, college grades, retention in college and degree and job market attainment. An emphasis is placed on programs that traditionally serve high-achieving students, as well as those that serve first generation, low-income and low-performing students and underrepresented minorities. Although the research is limited, outcomes generally are positive, indicating that students who participate in these programs receive some benefit and may find a Secondary-Postsecondary Learning Option a good alternative to their regular high school experience. The College Ladder also describes various characteristics of effective programs, and analyzes issues of credit transferability, funding for these school-college partnerships and equitable access to programs. (Jennifer Brown Lerner and Betsy Brand, American Youth Policy Forum, September 2006)...

Perceptions of College Financial Aid Among California Latino Youth - This policy brief discusses findings of a survey of California Latino youth perceptions of college financial aid that revealed: 98% of respondents felt it was important to have a college education; 38% of respondents did not feel the benefits of college outweigh the costs; not being able to work and incurring debt were the opportunity costs associated with going to college; over half of all respondents erroneously thought students have to be U.S. citizens to apply for college financial aid; few respondents could accurately estimate the cost of attending either the University of California or the California State University; and there is a lack of familiarity with government grants for education. The following policy implications are discussed: (1) delivery of translated financial aid information is not sufficient, (2) misperceptions about the affordability of college need to be addressed, and (3) greater awareness about government loan and grant programs is needed. (Maria Estela Zarate and Harry P. Pachon, The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, June 2006) ...

How Outreach Programs Are Implemented Affects Student Academic Achievement - This seven-page paper reports the findings of a four-year study of college-outreach programs at 32 high schools in the Los Angeles area. The paper finds that fidelity – or strength of implementation – is a more crucial factor affecting student achievement than the program’s particular content. High fidelity programs affected the number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken, the rate of AP courses passed, the percentage of students taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the number of applicants to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), while program type only affected the mean SAT score. The paper discusses the main features of strong fidelity programs as well as policy implications. (Winnie Wenyi Wang, UCLA, 2005)...

Value Added: The Costs and Benefits of College Preparatory Programs - This cost-benefit analysis provides research and recommendations for policymakers to maximize the effectiveness of pre-college preparatory programs. Included in the suggestions is the need for high-quality information to conduct high-quality analysis and the consideration of intangible factors and outcomes, including costs associated with the program that aren’t always calculated. Equally important is the need to focus on both long- and short-term impacts of college-prep programs. While short-term impacts such as program retention or gradepoint averages of participants are valuable indicators, the longer-term outcomes that track the effects of outreach programs are ultimately more indicative of program success. (Watson Scott Swail, Educational Policy Institute, November 2004)...

Access and Persistence: Findings from 10 Years of Longitudinal Research on Students - For even the most qualified high school seniors, the likelihood of attending college increases with the level of their parent's education according to this report by the American Council on Education (ACE). The report finds that only 40% of four-year college students currently fit the traditional mold of enrolling in college directly after high school while depending on their parents to take care of most, if not all, of their financial needs. (Susan P. Choy, ACE, 2002)...

Empty Promises: The Myth of College Access in America - Is hard work in high school and college all that is necessary to earn a college degree? Are there qualified high school graduates who are not going to college due to financial barriers? During the next 10 years, nearly two million high school graduates will not participate in any postsecondary education. For these students, the promise of college is an empty one. In this report, policymakers can learn about the challenges states face in trying to ensure all qualified students have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education. (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, June 2002)...

The Policy of Choice: Expanding Student Options in Higher Education - The upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act has placed the goals and effectiveness of federal Title IV student aid programs at the forefront of the higher education policy debate. Critical to the debate are the role of federal student aid in promoting access, choice and affordability despite rising college tuitions and increasing numbers of disadvantaged students. This primer updates key data and lays out the past and present issues of college choice, and discusses the goals of federal student aid and the effectiveness of federal aid programs in meeting them. (Alisa Federico Cunningham, Institute for Higher Education Policy, August 2002)...

2001 Outreach Program Handbook - This publication provides a comprehensive overview of all existing outreach programs, broken down state by state. Two essays also explain the history of outreach and characteristics of current programs across the nation, as well as the findings of the National Survey of Outreach. Policymakers should find this yearly publication an easy-to-use resource on state activity. Copies are available from the College Board, 800-323-7155; request publication number 006623....

Access Denied: Restoring the Nation’s Commitment to Equal Educational Opportunity - Despite the recent period of prosperity that has bestowed unprecedented wealth on the nation and many American families, each year increasing numbers of low-income students graduate from high school academically unprepared to enter college and confront significant financial barriers that limit their ability to access and stay in college. As a result, the college-entry and completion rates of low-income students continue to lag well behind their middle- and upper-income peers. This report addresses the ramification of limited access – how it effects economic productivity and the growth of the country, how it narrows the gap in college participation rates – and makes policy recommendations for how to increase access for all students. (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, February 2001)...

Bridging the Gap: Academic Preparation and Postsecondary Success of First-Generation Students - This report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) examines the postsecondary persistence of students whose parents had no education beyond high school. The report finds that rigorous preparation in high school substantially narrows the gap in postsecondary outcomes between first-generation college students and their peers whose parents graduated from college. (Edward C. Warburton, Rosio Bugarin, Anne-Marie Nunez, NCES, June 2001)...


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