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ERIC Number: ED504448
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 38
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 81
Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students
Engle, Jennifer; Tinto, Vincent
Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education
Given the pressure to remain competitive in the global knowledge economy, it is in the shared national interest to act to increase the number of students who not only enter college, but more importantly, earn their degrees. Changing national demographics requires a refocus of efforts on improving postsecondary access and success among populations who have previously been underrepresented in higher education. This report examines the postsecondary characteristics, experiences, and outcomes of low-income, first-generation college students, highlighting how the combined impact of being both low-income and first-generation puts these students at risk of failure in postsecondary education. Using data from the U.S. Department of Education datasets, the authors describe ways in which this population participates in higher education, including persistence and degree attainment rates, and compare their participation to other students, including those who are neither low-income nor first-generation. The writers discuss barriers that low-income, first-generation students face to achieving success in college, and strategies that colleges and universities can pursue to address these barriers and improve students' chances of earning degrees. Recommendations include: (1) Improving academic preparation for college; (2) Providing additional financial aid for college; (3) Increasing transfer rates to four-year colleges; (4) Easing the transition to college; (5) Encouraging engagement on the college campus; and (5) Promoting (re)entry for young and working adults. As the United States continues to realize the importance of increasing the educational attainment of its citizens as key to its future economic stability in the global marketplace, improving postsecondary access and success among underrepresented populations, such as low-income, first-generation students, is paramount. The authors conclude that there is much work to be done if this population is to participate and achieve within higher education similar to their more advantaged peers. (Contains 11 footnotes.)
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:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: 3M, St. Paul, MN.
Authoring Institution: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education
Identifiers - Location: United States