Though difficult to implement, a variety of potential solutions to the problem of access are available:
- Outreach: Federal programs like TRIO and GEARUP provide supplementary academic support to low-income students who need extra preparation. Early-intervention programs also provide the academic foundation underrepresented students sometimes lack as they move through the education system.
- P-16: Collaborative efforts among all education levels (preschool to college) have the potential to provide strong education opportunities at an early age, creating a body of students who are prepared and ready to succeed when they reach a higher education setting. Recent success stories include El Paso, Texas, which increased African-American and Hispanic achievement on standardized tests by 40%, and Georgia, the state with the longest-running P-16 system in the country and a university system now ranked in the top 20.
- Percentage plans: Though dismissed by some as adding to inequity, the 4%, 10% and 20% plans instituted by California, Texas and Florida, respectively, have attempted to address the declining enrollment of minority students in their states. These plans guarantee that 4%, 10% or 20% of the highest-ranking students in every state high school be placed in a public college (Texas guarantees enrollment in a flagship institution) as a way of increasing diversity after bans on affirmative action decreased access for minority students.
- Financial aid: Increasing the amount of need-based aid like the Pell Grant, as well as focusing on grants that help low-income students, could increase access. Federal and state programs must actively pursue financial aid programs for working-class, as well as middle-class students and their families. The Pell Grant needs to be increased to well over $5,000 for a student to be able to buy what needs to be bought in college education today (Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, 2000).
- Remediation: A fixture of higher education since colonial times, remedial classes in college can help bring unprepared students up to speed and provide underachieving students with the skills needed to complete a four-year degree. Despite the hostility many feel toward remedial education, remediation is one of the most productive education programs in the country today. With just 1% of the budget, the academic future of thousands of unprepared students can be salvaged (McCabe, 2000).