Increasing Access and Success in Higher Education

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Obtaining a college degree has never been more important. Although higher education institutions have opened their doors to more students, we have not seen equal strides in the number of students who actually complete four-year degrees. Too few college freshmen graduate from a four-year university within six years. The numbers are worse for students traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

The Education Trust’s gap-closing higher education work focuses on improving results for students, particularly those from low-income and minority households:

  • Access to Success is a consortium of state university systems committed to increasing access to postsecondary education and improving degree-completion rates for low-income and minority students.
  • College Results Online is a free Web tool that allows students and families to compare graduation rates at institutions across the country and see which schools best help students complete their degrees.
  • P-16 Alignment: College access begins with preparation—preferably in a standards-based curriculum that’s aligned from pre-K through college and that offers equitable access to challenging college-preparatory courses.
  • Access to Financial Aid: States and higher education institutions are failing to target their aid dollars to the students with the greatest need. In 2007-08, the average grant from institutions to students from the richest families was more than $7,000. For the lowest income students: only slightly more than $5,000.