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ERIC Number: ED498745
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Breaking through the Barriers to College: Empowering Low-Income Communities, Schools, and Families for College Opportunity and Student Financial Aid
De La Rosa, Mari Luna; Tierney, William G.
Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, University of Southern California
Rather than promote access, college admissions and financial aid processes often create a series of barriers that the poorest student must overcome to get to college. The Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis (CHEPA) of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California directed a three-year research initiative, Financial Aid and College Access, to analyze the financial aid processes for low-income students and their families. Working with students, counselors, parents, community members, and policy advocates, the authors have identified six challenges related to these processes. These challenges lend themselves to strategies to empower communities, schools, and families to break through the complexity and confusion in financial aid and college access. The six challenges are: (1) Students in part make college-related decisions based on their perceptions of financial aid availability; (2) A high school's culture of preparation makes a difference in students' access to college- and financial aid-related information; (3) Students need accurate and timely information about college and financial aid; (4) Group seminars on financial aid information can be helpful in concert with follow-up sessions, but cannot supplant one-on-one support and counseling; (5) Even after applying for college and financial aid, many students require individualized, sustained support throughout the process; and (6) Parents require information and knowledge about college and financial aid. For each challenge, the authors outline specific strategies that communities, schools, students, and parents can use to overcome the complexity of applying for college and financial aid. These strategies are action-oriented and designed to empower and lead to postsecondary opportunity for low-income, urban communities. A list of resources is appended. [This report was produced by the University of Southern California Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis.]
Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis (CHEPA). University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education, 3470 Trousdale Parkway, Waite Phillips Hall 701, Los Angeles, CA 90089-4037. Tel: 213-740-7218; Fax: 213-740-3889; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Community; Parents; Students; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education, Indianapolis, IN.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A