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State University No More: Out-of-State Enrollment and the Growing Exclusion of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students at Public Flagship Universities

May 1, 2017

State flagship universities are facing an identity crisis. Will they continue a historic dedication to economic equity, or will they become instruments of social stratification?Although the admissions practices of private selective colleges are frequently featured in media coverage, public flagship universities enroll seven times as many Pell Grant recipients. However, these "engines of social mobility" are increasingly crowding out high-achieving, low-income students.The Great Recession brought dramatic cuts to higher education appropriations and in response, flagship universities are enrolling more out-of-state students. These students offset university budgets by paying higher tuition but often, they demonstrate lower academic achievement and higher participation in partying.

In Search of a Match: A Guide for Helping Students Make Informed College Choices

March 31, 2015

This guide is designed for counselors, teachers, and advisers who work with high school students from low-income families and students who are the first in their families to pursue a college education. It offers strategies for helping these students identify, consider, and enroll in "match" colleges -- that is, selective colleges that are a good fit for students based on their academic profiles, financial considerations, and personal needs. Many of the suggestions in this guide are based on insights and lessons learned from the College Match Program, a pilot program that MDRC codeveloped with several partners and implemented in Chicago and New York City to address the problem of "undermatching," or what happens when capable high school students enroll in colleges for which they are academically overqualified or do not apply to college at all. The key lessons of the College Match Program, which are reflected in this guide, are that students are willing to apply to selective colleges when:* They learn about the range of options available to them.* They engage in the planning process early enough to meet college and financial aid deadlines.* They receive guidance, support, and encouragement at all stages.Informed by those key lessons, the guide tracks the many steps in the college search, application, and selection process, suggesting ways to incorporate a match focus at each stage: creating a match culture, identifying match colleges, applying to match colleges, assessing the costs of various college options, selecting a college, and enrolling in college. Because many students question their ability to succeed academically or fit in socially at a selective college, and because they may hesitate to enroll even when they receive good advice and encouragement, the guide offers tips and strategies to help students build the confidence they need to pursue the best college education available to them. Each section also suggests tools and resources in the form of websites and printed materials that counselors, advisers, and students can use, as well as case studies to illustrate the experiences of College Match participants throughout the process.

Falling Out of the Lead: Following High Achievers Through High School and Beyond

April 15, 2014

A previous Education Trust report, "Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low-Income Students and Students of Color", described inequities at the high end of the achievement spectrum and found that gaps at the advanced level on the 12th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have generally stagnated or grown over the past decade. In this report, we want to explore the experiences of these high-achieving students. We examine the trajectories of students who are high-achieving when they enter high school and document their success on key indicators of postsecondary readiness, including high school course-taking, performance on AP exams and college admissions tests (SAT/ACT), academic GPAs, and college enrollment patterns. Our intention is to drill down further and understand if and on what indicators initially high-achieving students of color and low-socioeconomic status (SES) students are getting off track in high school. By better understanding such patterns, we hope educators can look at their practices with a fresh eye and think anew about how to provide truly rigorous opportunities that will best support students of color and low-SES students who are already high-achieving. This responsibility, of course, also lies with elementary and middle schools, but there are actions that high school educators can take now to improve experiences for these students. Schools like CAHS provide some insight into how this work is being done.

From Access to Success: A Funder's Guide to Ensuring More Americans Earn Postsecondary Degrees

July 13, 2010

Highlights discussions from a May 2010 convening on proven strategies to increase the number of Americans earning a postsecondary degree. Examines barriers and intervention levers at the student, institutional, and policy levels and the role of funders.

Achievement Trap: How America Is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students From Lower-Income Families

September 1, 2007

Assesses the elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school experiences of students who score in the top 25 percent on national standardized tests and whose family incomes are below the national median.