Social & Economic Factors Education Employment Income Family & Social Support Community Safety Search Policies & Programs

hints
Display All Policies & Programs

College access programs

Health Factors: Education
Decision Makers: Educators Local Government State Government Federal Government Grantmakers Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

Is this program or policy in use in your community? Tell us about it.

Description

College access programs help underrepresented students, often high or low performing, low income, and first generation high school students, prepare academically for higher education and complete the college entry process (IES WWC-Tierney 2009). Programs may include whole school reforms or supplementary student services, and may include counseling, social enrichment, academic enrichment, mentoring, parental involvement, or scholarships. Programs that support college access can be funded by federal, state, local, and non-profit funds (US ED-Harvill 2012). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased college enrollment

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that college access programs increase college enrollment (US ED-Harvill 2012, Le 2016). Research suggests that effective programs begin in ninth grade with college awareness and college readiness components (Le 2016), and guide eleventh and twelfth grade students through the college application and financial aid processes (IES WWC-Tierney 2009). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm characteristics of the most effective programs.

Providing college application guidance, financial information, and application fee waivers can increase college applications and enrollments at selective universities (IES WWC-College opportunities 2014). A Northwest Ohio-based study suggests that college access programs increase knowledge about the college application, admission, and financial aid process among high school students in rural areas (Hedrick 2013).

Researchers recommend that schools disseminate college and financial information beginning in ninth grade, offer individual assistance, and advise teachers of upcoming milestones. Researchers also recommend partnering with local colleges and high school alumni attending them, arranging or assisting with campus visits, and offering separate financial workshops for parents and students. Schools can help families by detailing potential costs and sources of aid and assisting them with the FAFSA process (IES WWC-Tierney 2009). Research also suggests a need for more college access programs that assist students with learning disabilities, especially those with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds (King 2009).

Examples of effective programs include Talent Search, Sponsor-a-Scholar, and Ace Plus (US ED-Harvill 2012).

Implementation

United States

The Federal TRIO program, a federally supported college access program, served 759,094 low income, first generation college, or disabled students across 2,787 projects in 2014-15 (US ED-TRIO). Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), another federal program to increase college readiness, attendance, and success among low income students, served 570,462 low income students in 2014-2015 (US ED-GEAR UP).

Several states fund college access programs, as in California, Florida, New Jersey, and New York. Universities can also operate college access programs; for example, the University of California’s Early Academic Outreach Program and the University of Colorado’s Pre-Collegiate Program (NCSL-CPP).     

Many non-profits also administer college access programs; for example, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), the “I Have a Dream” program, and Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE) (NCSL-CPP).

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Educational Opportunities Programs team connects Wisconsin students to state and federal programs (WI DPI-WEOP). State universities such as the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee also connect students to many programs and resources (UWM-TRIO). 

Implementation Resources

AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. Accessed on June 2, 2016
GCC-ACE - Glendale Community College (GCC). Achieving a College Education (ACE) Accessed on June 1, 2016
IES WWC-Tierney 2009 - Tierney WG, Bailey T, Constantine J, Finkelstein N, Hurd NF. Helping students navigate the path to college: What high schools can do. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), US Department of Education (US ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WWC); 2009. Accessed on June 1, 2016
Sponsor-a-Scholar - Philadelphia Futures. Sponsor-a-scholar program. Accessed on June 1, 2016
US ED-Financial aid - US Department of Education (US ED). Financial aid toolkit. Accessed on February 28, 2017
US ED-TRIO - US Department of Education (US ED). Federal TRIO program. Accessed on February 28, 2017

Citations - Description

IES WWC-Tierney 2009 - Tierney WG, Bailey T, Constantine J, Finkelstein N, Hurd NF. Helping students navigate the path to college: What high schools can do. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), US Department of Education (US ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WWC); 2009. Accessed on June 1, 2016
US ED-Harvill 2012 - Harvill EL, Maynard RA, Nguyen HTH, Robertson-Kraft C, Tognatta N. Effects of college access programs on college readiness and enrollment: A meta-analysis. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), US Department of Education (US ED); 2012. Accessed on February 28, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Hedrick 2013 - Hedrick J, Light M, Dick J. College Readiness for Rural Youth initiative: Creating a climate for success. Journal of Extension. 2013;51(6):1–5. Accessed on June 2, 2016
IES WWC-College opportunities 2014 - US Department of Education (US ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). WWC review of the report: Expanding college opportunities for high-achieving, low income students. 2014. Accessed on June 2, 2016
IES WWC-Tierney 2009 - Tierney WG, Bailey T, Constantine J, Finkelstein N, Hurd NF. Helping students navigate the path to college: What high schools can do. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), US Department of Education (US ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WWC); 2009. Accessed on June 1, 2016
King 2009* - King KA. A review of programs that promote higher education access for underrepresented students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. 2009;2(1):1–15. Accessed on June 2, 2016
Le 2016* - Le VN, Mariano LT, Faxon-Mills S. Can college outreach programs improve college readiness? The case of the College Bound, St. Louis program. Research in Higher Education. 2016;57(3):261–287. Accessed on June 2, 2016
US ED-Harvill 2012 - Harvill EL, Maynard RA, Nguyen HTH, Robertson-Kraft C, Tognatta N. Effects of college access programs on college readiness and enrollment: A meta-analysis. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), US Department of Education (US ED); 2012. Accessed on February 28, 2017

Citations - Implementation

NCSL-CPP - National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). College preparatory programs (CPP). Accessed on June 2, 2016
US ED-GEAR UP - US Department of Education (US ED). Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). Accessed on February 28, 2017
US ED-TRIO - US Department of Education (US ED). Federal TRIO program. Accessed on February 28, 2017
UWM-TRIO - University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM). TRIO and precollege programs. Accessed on June 1, 2016
WI DPI-WEOP - Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). WEOP information. Accessed on June 1, 2016

Page Last Updated

June 2, 2016

* Journal subscription may be required for access.