ERIC Number: ED497044
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Demography Is Not Destiny: Increasing the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students at Large Public Universities
Engle, Jennifer; O'Brien, Colleen
Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education
What accounts for the differences in retention and graduation rates among large public colleges and universities that serve high numbers of low-income students? To answer this question, the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education has conducted two studies to examine the institutional characteristics, practices, and policies that might account for such differences. In the first study, the authors identified 20 four-year institutions with large proportions of Pell Grant recipients--10 with higher than average graduation rates and 10 with lower than average graduation rates. Despite design limitations, the first study yielded important findings about what colleges and universities can do to improve student persistence. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether the conditions for improving graduation rates that were observed at the smaller institutions are present or even possible to create at larger public institutions, where most low-income students in this sector are enrolled. In this report, the authors describe differences in institutional policies and practices, as well as commonalities among the higher-performing institutions. They discuss differences between the findings from the previous study and this one. Finally, they consider if practices aimed at improving overall graduation rates also work for low-income students, and offer recommendations for institutions. It is their hope that the cumulative results of their two studies will be instructive for policymakers and practitioners who seek to improve the chances for success for low-income students in higher education. (Contains 13 tables, 1 figure, and 4 footnotes.)
Descriptors: Higher Education, Universities, Institutional Characteristics, Demography, Public Colleges, Graduation Rate, Student Financial Aid, College Students, Low Income Groups, Academic Persistence, Educational Attainment, School Holding Power, Dropouts, Stopouts, Literature Reviews, College Preparation, Academic Achievement, High Risk Students, Regression (Statistics), Enrollment, Grade Point Average
Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. 1025 Vermont Avenue NW Suite 1020, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-638-2887; Fax: 202-638-3808; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.pellinstitute.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education, Indianapolis, IN.
Authoring Institution: Pell Inst. for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, Washington, DC.