Access to Success

The Access to Success Initiative is a project of the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and The Education Trust. A2S works with 22 public higher education systems that have pledged to cut the college-going and graduation gaps for low-income and minority students in half by 2015. Together, these institutions serve more than 3.5 million students.

Each participating A2S system, for which updated system-level report cards appear below, sets its own improvement targets and agrees to a common set of metrics to evaluate progress. The just-released midterm report on A2S, "Replenishing Opportunity in America," finds that:

  •  Enrollment figures and degrees conferred have increased, with improvements largely driven by African-American, Latino, American-Indian, and low-income students.
  • At two-year colleges, there are no access gaps for low-income and minority students, relative to their representation among high school graduates in their state.
  • At four-year institutions, the access gap for low-income freshmen has been cut in half, and it has closed for low-income transfer students.

However, success among low-income students and students of color has not yet moved fast enough to begin closing the completion gaps.

While much work remains, the midterm report, and its accompanying technical appendix, demonstrates that the initiative's goals are within reach. As participating systems have taken the lead in getting more students from underserved populations into and through college, they are well positioned to contribute to national college attainment goals. Relevant case studies outline how three institutions are closing in on this goal: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; San Diego State University; and Florida State University.

In August 2010, The Education Trust launched The U.S. Education Delivery Institute, a partner organization that guides A2S systems through an implementation approach called “delivery” to mobilize their college completion efforts. Coupled with early, data-driven leading indicators of progress toward degree completion, delivery helps move students toward degree completion.

Colorado State University System and University of Texas System are new participants for which we do not yet have data.

System and institutional report cards:

California State University System

City University of New York

Connecticut State University System

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Louisiana Board of Regents does not submit data 

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

Montana University System

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education

South Dakota Board of Regents

State University of New York

State University System of Florida

Tennessee Board of Regents

University of Hawaii System

University of Louisiana System

University of Missouri System

University of North Carolina System

University of Wisconsin System

University System of Maryland

The A2S baseline report is available here.

For details about A2S, please contact Michael Dannenberg.