Increasing College Access
Initial curator: Rania Ezzo, Campus Compact, AmeriCorps*VISTA
As mentioned in the Action Statement, higher education is the bedrock of a just, equitable, and sustainable future. Understanding that higher education institutions are responsible for preparing students to be engaged citizens, we together strive for the highest possible level of inclusivity. College access is central to this inclusivity, making possible a strong, healthy, active democratic society.
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A) Gaining Institutional Support
- Achieving Higher Levels of Access and Success in Postsecondary Education
In this work, Charlie Nelms at Indiana University mentions alarming trends in the disparity that involve admission standards, merit-based versus need-based financial aid, and the non-participation of young minority males. He then talks about meeting the challenges.
B) Best Practices
- Bridges & Barriers: A Survey of Massachusetts College Access & Success Programs
Commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), Bridges and Barriers: A Survey of Massachusetts College Access & Success Programs, has two objectives: to identify the current landscape of access and success programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to explore the views that local stakeholders of access and success programs hold regarding the challenges facing underrepresented groups, especially Black and Latino male students.
- Making College Happen
A web guide for useful practices on increasing student access, such as clarifying your mission statement, vision and goals; innovations that leverage a collective impact strategy; and exemplary initiatives. This is especially useful if focusing gaining institutional support for increasing student access.
- Case Study: Building Access, Engaged Learning and Excellence
Diana Natalicio, the president of University of Texas at El Paso, describes how their institution is a model for institution-level transformation that succeeded in providing higher levels of college access and civic engagement for the surrounding communities.
C) Programs for College Access
- College Positive Volunteerism, Campus Compact
College Positive Volunteerism (CPV) is a college access training program for volunteers working with K-12 youth. The curriculum seeks to increase college access for all students, especially underrepresented students, by training volunteers to be prepared to provide K-12 with support and information about college preparation, paying for college, career selection, financial resources, and more. This is especially useful if looking to increase access for the K-12 youth in a local partner organization that your college students work with.
- Preparation for College Workbook. University of Washington Dream Project, April 2015
A workbook developed by the University of Washington as part of the Dream Project to prepare students for college through their junior and senior years of high school. It includes information and worksheets on graduating from high school, applying to 2-year and 4-year colleges schools, financial aid, transitioning to college, and fining jobs.
- Early awareness resources for high school, National College Access Network (NCAN)
This web page breaks down college awareness and access resources and activities by age group (Middle Grades and Grades 9-10). It also includes resources on FAFSA, Financial Aid, college applications, technology, testing, and e-learning.
D) Policies & New Reports
- College Knowledge Project Administered at University of Southern Mississippi
- Higher Education Opportunity Act
- College Cost Reduction and Access Act
- Guide for College Cost Reduction Act: Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- College Access Network
NCAN’s mission is to build, strengthen, and empower communities committed to college access and success so that all students, especially those underrepresented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational dreams.
- College Access Now
College Access Now (CAN) helps students from low-income families graduate from college. Grounded in best practices and measurable results, CAN partners with high schools and communities to expand what’s possible. Coaches develop meaningful relationships with students, transforming their journey into manageable steps to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed. CAN offers support from high school through college graduation—until they return home as leaders, inspiring their communities and breaking the cycle of poverty for generations to come. The impact of a college degree goes beyond the individual student, elevating possibilities for friends, families, and all of us who benefit from a more informed and empowered society.
- National Association for College Admission Counseling
NACAC is dedicated to providing counseling and admission professionals with the expert advice and tools they need to better serve students and improve the college transition process.
- Know How 2 Go
In order to turn these students’ college dreams into action-oriented goals, the American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation and the Ad Council created the KnowHow2GO campaign. This multi-year, multi-media effort includes television, radio and outdoor public service advertisements (PSAs) that encourage young people, primarily those in 8th through 10th grade, to prepare for college using four simple steps.
- Gain Early Awareness Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive federal program that provides six- and seven-year grants to education/community partnerships and states to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
- Central Michigan University’s Office for Diversity
MI GEAR UP is funded nationally by the U.S. Department of Education and locally by the King Chavez Parks Initiative, Workforce Development Agency. MI GEAR UP facilitates student tutoring and mentoring, offers workshops on college preparation and financial aid, and assists schools and teachers to better prepare students for college studies. The MI GEAR UP program integrates College Positive Volunteerism into their training.
- University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Using College Positive Volunteerism curriculum, they are dedicated to helping local youth achieve the dream of a college education by assisting and advising students on the college-bound path. The program employs Federal Work Study Students and directly partners with the local Durfee High School
- University of Washington’s Dream Project
The Dream Project is a student-initiated college-access and retention program that partners UW students with first-generation and low-income students in Seattle area high schools to assist in the college admissions process (including SAT prep, applications, writing essays, applying for financial aid, and finding scholarships).
Other Useful Information
- FACT SHEET: Increasing College Access Making Loans Easier to Pay, U.S. Department of Education Press Release (audio)
- Report Urges College to Give More Weight to Applicants’ Community Involvement, ABC News(video)
- Commentary by Senior Lecturer Richard Weissbourd: Education Week: College Admission 2.0: Service Over Self
- Report: Who Chooses Schools and Why, National Education Policy Center Policy Brief
- Further readings: Articles & Publications
- Tip: It could be useful to look for campus-based college access outreach programs, education professional associations, and helpful foundations and corporations that specifically contribute to access in your state.
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